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 leash..so 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.
THE NOORDHOEK WETLANDS (PAPKUILSVLEI)
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. Only 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.
POLITICS OF THE PLACE
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:
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.