Monday, 24 October 2011

Circles in the Forest Part2

The Outeniqua forest is a special place. The cool forest floor begged me to kick off my shoes.

Every tree is an ecosystem! So many organisms living together, helping one another with one common goal. This tree grew around and over the ant hill. Or was the tree there first? Impossible to tell its a chicken or egg kind of a situation I suppose! :)

The path is very well maintained, with slippery when wet warnings and small bridges to help you cross difficult terrain.

The water here is cool, fresh and o so sweet.

The giant mountain ferns cover the ground like a green carpet. Somewhere in this forest wild elephants are eating the tops of these ferns. (one of their favourite kinds of food.) In the deep-green depths of the Knysna forest lives the last, tiny remnant of the once great herds of Cape bush elephant. Of the original group just one female remains, though three elephants where recently brought in from the Kruger National park.

These big grey ghosts are seldom seen. We did see relatively fresh elephant dung. It was kind of scary to think that we might round the next corner and find a HUGE African elephant blocking our way.

 In 1876 it was estimated that between 400 and 500 giants roamed the forests of Knysna. The numbers declined partly due to poaching and ivory smuggling. In 1908 when the elephants were declared royal game only 20 were counted.

There are many ancient trees in this forest! Fathers, Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers. The bark of the Podocarpus Africana is rugged and home to many creatures. :)

You can only guess at their age and at what they have 'seen' in their lifetime.
After a quick foto session with another giant we continued the hike.

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