I had been doing some work in Cape Town and stayed a few extra days to do some landscape and avian photography of the region. It had been bitterly cold (well for me at least) and the wind and rain had at times been unrelenting. Last Sunday morning saw me on my way on the R300 with my destination to be Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens at the foot of Table Mountain. Whilst driving I threw a casual glance to my left and there it was.. snowcaps on the mountains behind Stellenbosch. Now you don't understand, the feathered friends will always be at Kirstenbosch but the snow would not always be on the mountains.. Decision made, destination changed and off I steered on the N2 towards Somerset West. As to the actual mountains my knowledge was rather sparse but hey, if there were roads, I could get some shots. Not the best time of day for the best light but it would have to do.
Now the town Stellenbosch is 53 km east of Cape Town and is in a hilly region of the Cape Winelands. It is sheltered in a valley at an average elevation of 136 m flanked on the west by Parrot Mountain (yes, you read correctly), which is actually a hill. To the south is Stellenbosch Mountain and to the east and southeast are the Jonkershoek, Drakenstein, and Simonsberg mountains. The Twin Peaks have an elevation of 1,494 m and the highest point is Victoria Peak at 1,590 m.
The soils of Stellenbosch range from dark alluvium to clay. This, combined with the well-drained, hilly terrain and Mediterranean climate, prove excellent for viticulture. Summers are dry and warm to hot, with some February and March days rising to over 40 °C. Winters are cool, rainy and sometimes quite windy, with daytime temperatures averaging 16 °C.
I firstly headed into the upper suburbs of Somerset West which showed this lovely backdrop.
I then headed up on the road from Somerset West through to Stellenbosch and managed this shot over the vineyards. I particularily liked the sky.
From here I drove through the town and headed up on the Pniel road where just a week before I had shot some images of the mountains with clouds hanging over them.
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|The previous week, same place|
Traveling further down heading towards Franschoek I came across this open field which provided a wonderful foreground to the mountains.