February in Cape Town is hot and dazzling Disa red. Remember that and put it in your diary for next year. Having wanted to track down the Disas for some time now, we finally got a party together in February 2013 and headed up Table Mountain in search of our shy, elusive, pretty provincial symbol.
Our guide for the day was the fabulous Angela Paynter, an experienced Footsteps to Freedom guide, who is passionate about Cape fynbos and regularly leads groups up the mountain (see http://footstepstofreedom.co.za/about-us/footsteps-guides/)
Angela chose to lead us up Woody Ravine, accessible from the winding roads of residential Camps Bay, and beautifully shaded for the majority of the climb as it was one of those heated-up Feb days
Our first stop was the waterworks museum near the wall of the Hely-Hutchinson reservoir where all sorts of paraphernalia have been preserved to tell the story of the building of the five dams on top of the mountain – an amazing engineering feat in the 1890s! The museum is not always open but we hit it lucky.
Heading past the dams, we eventually spotted our first Disa on the shaded banks of a little stream. We were so excited at seeing our first little scarlet friend, you would have thought we’d run into George Clooney sunbathing on the mountain!
Once our eyes were attuned to the little rubies, we spotted them all the way up the river.
Speaking of rivers….don’t forget to pack your bikinis, these icy mountain pools provide the most heavenly relief during your summer quest
Shy Disas hiding from the limelight under the old aqueduct bridge
We decided to head back home via Maclear’s beacon (obscured here by some eager explorers). Observe the most brilliant blue in the background – when God created the sky, I think he had this colour in mind
On our way to the cable car along the Smuts track (which, by the way, is a must for its dramatic panoramic views on the edge of the mountain) we spotted the blue Disa. Smaller, and not as plentiful as the red ones, they are the loners of the Disa family, preferring to keep their own company rather than hang out in crowds like their social red cousins.
Never forget the amazing beauty we have in our own backyard!