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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Se7en + 1 Go Exploring in Newlands Forest…

July 10th, 2014 · 3 Comments

In the spirit of doing a real hike once or twice a month, over and above our daily ambles, we went for a walk in the woods. Newlands Forest is on the slopes of Table Mountain and the place where I grew up… I walked my dog here every afternoon after school and knew it like the back of my hand. My kids haven’t been there for years and I wondered if they even remembered it…

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Like all good hikes, it began with rows of sandwiches on the kitchen table. It’s winter here…. so sandwich making in the dark.

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And then we were “good to go” to visit my old stomping ground…

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Class in the Great Outdoors

Each month we meet up with our SANParks ranger and when she mentioned we were going to learn about Afro-Mountain forests on the slopes of Table Mountain we were desperately keen. We were there to learn the difference between our indigenous forests of Africa, and the alien plantations. You can spot the difference hear: the dense wild and crazy mix of trees versus the neatly planted rows of trees…

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And it is magical… Shady paths in every direction and deep in the forest you are shielded from the noise of the city… it is very quiet, you really can hear the sounds of silence.

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And we were off…

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Wandering…

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And some class time…

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And our avid notetaker… who was desperately keen to see the aliens… (note to self: an explanation of alien vegetation may be in order)…

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And exploring…

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And don’t you love that our ranger whips a microscope out of her backpack… not something I would ever dream of taking on a hike, but it was just brilliant…

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We definitely need to do more microscopic explorations…

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And natural factual expeditions…

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And things we wanted to stop and draw…

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We definitely need to go back there…

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Trees

When you wander through forests you expect to see trees…

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Many trees…

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Roots of trees…

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And tall trees…

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Leafy trees…

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Colourful trees…

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And berry trees…

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Rivers to Explore

And it was just after heavy rain there was plenty of water…

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Mushrroms

And mushrooms everywhere… I have never seen so many beautiful and different types of mushrooms before…

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Moss and Lichens

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Ferns and Wildlife

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Picnic

After the class we were free to roam and went exploring… we went looking for reflections

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And a fine place for a picnic…

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Lunch in the sun…

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The Hike

And then we were ready to take a hike…

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The paths wander in and out of each other you can head up to the Contour path, just below the contour path is the Woodcutters Path and that’s the one we went on. You can follow the path round to look out over the city…

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Or if you head away from the city you can hike towards Kirstenbosch.

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Would you look at the waterfall, it had been raining…

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The higher up the mountain you go the wilder the forest becomes… full of strong vines that we call monkey ropes…

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But the paths are easy to follow…

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This was so fun for my kids, they are used to the more exposed vynbos walks of the south peninsula and we all loved being in the forest, surrounded by shady trees and birds… we couldn’t see them, but it is definitely time for us to learn some bird calls…

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And though it was easy walking, little legs do eventually get tired…

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And challenging streams…

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The perks of hiking, include discovering that you could do far more than you thought you could…

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And problem solving in real life is so much more fun to learn in the great outdoors…

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And that was us… a great day out.

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We highly recommend Newlands Forest as a place for a family amble, and the higher up the mountain you go the more adventurous it becomes. You really can pick the level of athlete you have in your group and head out. While the paths are all well marked, all the signposts higher up the mountain had been knocked off their posts… I would recommend having a map of the area with you or studying the map at the entrance gate carefully. That being said, you can’t get lost, uphill takes you up the mountain and follow a path downhill and you will eventually be back at the entrance or close to the entrance on the walkway next to the highway.

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Tags: Cape Town · Outdoors · Saturday Spot

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