Dog walking in the south peninsula

I have been dog sitting for 2 months now, and my obligation is to take these 3 large hounds for a walk every day. Well its been good because I have had time to explore the dog walking south peninsula. Now, its not that easy to walk anywhere with these dogs as they dont fancy a the city is out, and I cant just walk outside their gate as there are hundreds of bored hounds in Noordhoek that bark at everything that moves. So every day I load them into Alices vintage bakkie and we go somewhere.


Their favourite place is the Noordhoek wetlands that stretch from the main road to the Beach, where they love looking for moles and tearing up the rugby field that is full of mole holes. 20161122_103302Only once did they actually catch one. Mostly they dig and dig, making holes where there once were mounds. (I keep them off the main fields that are used by cricketers, rugby players and soccer clubs.) It is a strangely neglected place, full of almost every kind of exotic plant you can find, and obviously used to be a dumping ground for Noordhoek gardens.

My favourite is the enormous fig tree above that I have raided a number of times for green fig preserve, as they do not seem to get ripe, and as they get soft..but still not sweet I make a lovely jam. The other day, while picking figs, a woman walked past with her dogs, and when I commented on the tree, she said “is that a fig tree?” and I must say I was amazed that she didnt know, probably walking past every day. It is now managed by SANparks, who are trying to restore it, but this is an impossible task. But I love the mix of vegetation where, if you wanted to establish a garden, you have access to huge resources from papyrus to buffalo grass runners to st Johns wort to and occasional indigenous plant that you darent pick as they are rare.

In the spring there is a host of flowers and the bees literally hum as you walk. 20161014_123038


It also a strange place in that at one stage it was covered in Port jackson, which is mostly absent now, and housed a huge amount of people who made their living by cutting wood. The local Noordhoek residents objected to their presence in the late 1980’s, while apartheid still held sway as there was a law prohibiting anyone of colour to live with their families in the South peninsula. They were evicted  and they became some of the original inhabitants of Masiphumele, on the other side of the reed bed, where they could not be seen. This was a comment from the local NIMBYS that expressed the view in the day:

“…the local residents wish to express in the strongest possible terms their extreme concern at the establishment of a township on Site 5. They wish to state that their concern is not of an apartheid or racial nature, but stems from extreme contrast in cultures, background and standards. It is the view of the local residents that the establishment of this township should be likened to the juxtaposition of moderately well-to-do residential area, such as Pinelands or Bergvliet or Constantia, next to high-density subsistence housing such as Crossroads…”
“A buffer zone of minimum width 30 metres must be established around the township. This
zone should be in the form of a berm, of minimum height 5 metres to minimise visual and
audible effects, should be planted with trees, and must be enclosed by a fence of minimum
height 1,8 metres along the outer perimeter to contain any potential unrest incidents within the township area. This buffer zone must extend along the western and eastern borders of the proposed township… the local residents insist that larger plots be established adjacent to the buffer zone to support higher quality housing and thus ease the geographic transition…”
(Chasmay, Lochiel and Lekkerwater Residents, June 1991).
Now it is a derelict piece of land. However, some local clubs have slowly annexed pieces and so there is now a soccer field that gets used about once a month, and also as a golf practice place;

a cricket field that gets used about the same in summer only and a rugby field I have not seen used at all. Now the Noordhoek Riding association also has a show jumping field. Mostly the place is used by horse riders and dog walkers like myself. the last remaining local farmer in the area has grazed their cows, accompanied by the usual tick birds, here for ever. 20161128_085837

Despite the signs and need for dog walkers permits, many people do not pick up their dogs poo and perhaps in revenge, there is a fair amount of littering around the fields by the players.20161211_101758
I usually just allow the dogs to walk and follow them on the many paths, but I have discovered various places they love: One is the last remaining pool as the water dries up for the summer, that they love to swim in (so do the horses.)  When the water is flowing they love the water ways. The ground (well sand) gets very dry in the summer and even after a good rain, water does not penetrate too far.20161209_111332
After a soaking rain.

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