Birds and beauty in the H’berg!

Taking a walk in the Helderberg Nature Reserve is a breath of fresh air – quite literally!

This is not me being overdramatic. The air in the reserve really is pristine, the clarity of light is intense and the fauna and flora vie for photographic beauty.

Fynbos and flowers make for a heady combination of sweet pure air. And don’t get me started on the blanket of bright blue sky with the occasional white clouds or the sheer vibrant greenness of the lush country vegetation. I thought it couldn’t get much better until I did one of the organized walks in the reserve.

It’s hard not to want to stop every few minutes to photograph the vistas, flowers, birds and beauty all around, as the serenity of the reserve creeps into your soul.

The morning dew made the spider webs sparkle like fairy lights. The birds were vocal and colourful in the early morning light and, talking of the birds and the bees, I even caught two of the resident tortoises making the most of their day in the reserve…

Better than any pick-me-upper, the bird walks are special because of the abundance of birdlife that call the reserve home and thrive in this natural green oasis at the base of the Helderberg.

I’ve been a Friend of the Reserve for a while now but it’s taken me some time to join one of the organized walks – not surprising, given my lack of fitness. I was pleasantly placated to see just how easy the basic walk is, neither strenuous nor taxing and easily do-able in takkies.

Stopping every so often to take photos makes it immensely enjoyable too (if only to catch my breath). One if the other walks I really enjoy is the monthly HNR Photo Club walk, which combines a light walk with great opportunities to photograph the spectacular flora out at this time of the year. Plus experts share tips on getting the best angle in the best light, so it’s a win-win.

Living in Somerset West means that this majestic reserve is practically on my doorstep, meaning there’s no excuse not to visit it often.

On a final note, I volunteer at the reserve and volunteering is a great way to make friends and become part of the community, not to mention I love helping out at this magnificent place!

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