Grootvadersbosch Conservancy – Fish Monitoring

Galaxias. Pseudobarbus. Sandelia… Nope, I’m not speaking in some ancient tongue, but rather alluding to the irredescent fishies we’ve been searching for over the past three days in the hide-away mountain streams bisecting the #grootvadersbosch Conservancy. In layman’s terms, it’s been a mission focused on finding #redfins, Cape kurper and some of the other diverse aquatic creatures populating our Cape Fold rivers.

At least 35x species of native fresh-water fish have been identified in the remote mountain streams of the Cape Floristic Region, with more than a dozen species endemic to the area. A wondrous world awaits once you dip beneath the tannin-stained waters, with anything from golden galaxias minnows or prehistoric eels, to Cape clawless otter sharing these incredibly rich ecosystems.

More about these amazing fish later, though, as they certainly are not the only jewels in the outdoor crown of the #GVBconservancy. We’ve happened upon stunning #San rock paintings, and surely the most breathtaking natural swimming pools in the whole of the #Hessequa Tourism Region. Add dawn dam swims, #gravelbike cranks, #ebike cruises, trail runs and general outdoor exploration to the mix, and you have a fresh-air destination beyond compare.

Our wider mission focused on monitoring #riverhealth in off-grid canyons such as the Tradouw, Huis, Kruis and Buffelsjag Rivers, mainly under the auspices of #CapeNature and #TableMountainFund. Rock-hopping, ridge scrambles, eel wrangling, emerald caves, deep-forest kloofs, off-piste treks … this all added to the exhilaration while we trawled and swam and dived within rooibos pools as far as you could possibly get from the rat race.

As always, a huge bonus to hook up with my #oZoneAfrica buddy, Zane Schmahl, as well as Aileen Anderson and Carla Wood of @tablemountainfund, plus Jeanne and Martine of @capenature (such a pity to miss out on meeting the #Bionerds, though)!

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Grootvadersbosch Conservancy – River Health

Amazing three days embedded in the #Hessequa Kloofs. Thank you, Aileen Anderson, Keith & Michele Moodie, and all the other excellent crew up at Grootvadersbosch Conservancy

The last two days have been all about #redfins here in the gorgeous @gvbconservancy. Our mission has focused on monitoring #riverhealth in the off-grid canyons characterising this part of the #Hessequa, and what an adventure to hang out with the @capenature field crew 💦🏞️💙
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Rock-hopping, ridge scrambles, eel wrangling, deep-forest hikes … all while trawling the tannin-stained pools of the #Tradouw#Kruis and other incredible mountain streams in the peaks above #Heidelberg, way off the beaten track, and as far as you could possibly get from the #ratrace.
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Superb to shoot the breeze with @aileenoutside and Carla Wood of @tablemountainfund; such a pity our @bionerds.co.za friends could not join

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Grootvadersbosch Conservancy

Always lekker to connect with Zane Schmahl for an @ozone.africa #workplay session, especially if it happens to be in gorgeous @gvbconservancy. This is a place where you really get to make the outdoors great again: it is a #bikepacking paradise, with endless #trails for #xc#enduro#hiking & #trailrun peeps.

In fact, if you love #mtb and have not played in this part of the #hessequa, you are seriously missing out. Today’s mission, however, focused on the Off-the-charts canyons near #Tradouw, where I got to monitor fresh-water fish species & river health with Aileen AndersonCarla Wood of @tablemountainfund & @capenature – what an excellent way to spend a Monday!

Loads of great photos to follow

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And Breathe …. Banhoek Conservancy

PLEASE NOTE: Vehicles are not allowed into #BanhoekConservancy without a pre-arranged permit, due to the large breeding herd of eland and other environmental considerations 🙏

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And Breathe… After two non-stop weeks of TransCape Shooting & Media, what a pleasure it was to gear life down a notch or two. To us, slowing down goes hand in hand with nature and #naturalmovement, often with a healthy dose of exploration on the side.

This morning’s mission was #Duiwelskloof in the Banhoek Conservancy (dankie Hanlie Booyens vir die inligting). We managed to dodge the NISSAN #TrailSeeker mountain bikers and headed into the shaded gorge while temperatures on the lower trails apparently boomed into the high 40s.

While they battled the heat, we chilled out in mountain pools, under waterfalls and within the verdant embrace of the dense Indigenous trees lining the kloof. Grace clocked nearly 10km of gnarly and challenging terrain over 4hr; let’s just say both Karyn Marais and I are super impressed!

Great to test the Mizuno trail shoes and @100percent_bike_za sunnies from Pure Endurance Solutions – Pty Ltd … top class kit. As usual, the Isuzu South Africa mu-X got us there; most of the images were shot on the GoPro #Max and Sony Mobile ZA #XperiaL10

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TransCape 2020 – To summarise …

Exhilarating routes. Check. Breathtaking views across the bars. Check. Great organization and crew. Check. Camaraderie of the highest order. Check. All of this is underpinned by the unequalled quality and attention to detail paid to the food, wine and accommodation that the riders enjoy while on the 7-day TransCape MTB Experience

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Transcape 2020 – leaving Greyton

That’s never an easy thing, especially if you’re a keen mountain biker. The #singletrack is way up there; mountain ranges ruck up all round for days on end; and old-school history oozes from every nook and cranny of #TheOaks, the finish venue on Stage 5 at the annual #TransCape MTB Experience …

There is also the small matter of the route, a mean mother of a meander via canola fields, cow pastures and gravelly farm tracks. So, to leave Greyton (on a bike, and after five solid days in the saddle) … nope, never an easy call, especially not when a monster ascent like the #UFO Climb lurks with intent ⛰️

Cold and drizzly conditions continued into the early morning, and once the peleton headed into the hills, low cloud closed in and the front riders were enveloped by swirling blankets of thick fog. This was never going to be an easy ride, but sometimes the weather may just turn out to be your best friend.

A tail wind literally blew the guys into #Botriver Valley and up the pass, getting them to finish in a time half an hour quicker than previous years. The ‘De Coureir’ team of Martin Santama and Tom van Brempt managed to sneak away from Anneke Whelan on her e-bike on a final stretch of singletrack, but the Belgians had to dig deep.

Only 70km remains of this superb ‘Journey by Bike across the Cape’ as the riders make their way to #franschhoek tomorrow. As always, the @ozone.africa Team will be there to capture the essence and vibrancy of this small-field event with the biggest heart

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TransCape 2020 – Stage 5

Ah man, those exquisite #overberg plains … how can you not love them 💙

The @transcapemtb #Stage5 journey came as a climatic (spelling intended) culture shock to even those most hardened #Transcapers, with cold and rainy conditions settling in over the mountainous and beautiful #swellendam. Wet streets and grinding-paste dirt roads awaited the riders as they bombed through the ‘bread-basket of South Africa’, heading straight for the picturesque village of #Greyton.

Waterpoint cuisine was elevated to new levels by IrmarieVenter, with even the leading bunch enticed into stopping by the home-made French toast with bacon and banana. A long ascent lurked beyond WP1 though, with the #Riviersonderend river crossing just one of many natural obstacles obstruction en route.

A good 27 of 280km of rollicking trails and #gravel roads await as we timeline towards the #winelands, and some hard yards will test the field tomorrow as they head to #Houwhoek. You can be sure to experience another cracker segment of this ‘#MTB Journey across the Cape’,with loads of quality stories courtesy of the @ozone.africa Team as well

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