I have just returned from an inspection with Hennie Delport ( Sanparks) of the fire damage to Silvermine Nature Area.  Can you believe that it is still smouldering strongly in one or two areas. A full seven days after the fact.

 

It was a devastating fire as you all know.

 

First and foremost Silvermine Nature Reserve is closed to the public and will be for the foreseeable future. It is dangerous with dead trees, very uneven paths and there are no facilities.  All walks in the Silvermine Nature Area have been suspended.  Please contact the walks coordinators for alternative arrangements.

 

SanParks are making an assessment of the damage to present to the insurance company. Fifteen years of dedicated growth – how does one put a cost to that?

 

The beautiful trees FOSNA bought and planted round the parking lot have been burnt with the exception of one yellowwood.  Most of the boardwalk around the reservoir has been partially destroyed or destroyed completely.  What planks are left are lying at strange angles and there are nails protruding from the oddest places. The cement bridge connecting the path to the reservoir wall has cracked.

Silvermine Dam was built in 1898 to supply water to Cape Town. Photo Viv vd Heyden

Silvermine Dam was built in 1898 to supply water to Cape Town. Photo Viv vd Heyden

 

The board walk up the river walk too has been gutted.  Apparently there was a little bridge built near the waterfall.   That too is no more.

 

The toilets have been spared but the water tank and pipes (partially sponsored by FOSNA) have melted thus the toilets have no water.

 

Two tents in the tented camp have been completely gutted and a section of the board walk also destroyed.  The fence looks like it has been chewed in places by an angry beast with dirty black teeth.

 

On the other side of the valley at Gate two the board walks in Spes Bona Forest and Echo Valley have been gutted.

 

Sadly a number of baboons from the Tokai troop were killed or badly burnt and have had to be euthanased. And who knows the number of little animals who were unable to escape.

 

And another angle to this is that Henry Josephs, the car guard at the reservoir parking, is now without a job.  He has been working there for about eleven years and has become a familiar face.  He has been entrusted with car keys and possessions while folks have gone swimming.  He has learnt a lot about the fauna and flora to pass on to visitors. So he was special feature in the parking area.  If you would like to give him a small donation please do so.  His banking details are at the end of this letter.

 

While the picture is bleak there are already signs of fresh green bits. We look forward to new growth of the fynbos and the emergence of the Haemanthus Sanguines and the Cyrtanthus ventricosus. The Cyrtanthus ventricosus  flowers only after a fire and is beautiful to see.

 

Cyrtanthus ventricosus. Image from www.fernkloof.com

Cyrtanthus ventricosus. – the Fire Lily. Image from www.fernkloof.com

As Friends of Silvermine Nature Area we will be receiving a damage report from Hennie Delport (Sanparks) and will assist as much as we possibly can.  We will keep you up to date with progress made.

 

Sue Frew

 Sue Frew is the Chairperson of Friends of Silvermine Nature Area – FOSNA , an organisation that has done extraordinary work in the reserve.

 Should you wish to become a member and so boost the funds used to create facilities in the Silvernmine Nature Area please email  Tammy at weinberg@discoverymail.co.za

Mr Henry Josephs

Capitec

1411156208