Robinson Pass – Eight Bells and Many Flowers

When we spend time in Mossel Bay, such as the during the last two months, we like nothing more than to explore the area around this part of the Southern Cape, driving the main and country roads and taking in the scenery and sights. Nowadays we tend to pack a picnic lunch or tea, which just feels safer, even though we have both had our vaccine shots, but a venue with outside seating and that is not too crowded is always an alternative that we consider.

At this time of year many of the Protea and fynbos species come into flower and from past experience we know that there are many places to view them within an easy driving distance from our home, one being the Robinson Pass on the R328 route that connects Mossel Bay with Oudtshoorn, twisting its way through the Outeniqua Mountains and rising to 860 metres before dropping away again.

Before getting into the pass proper, the road passes Eight Bells Mountain Inn, one of our favourite spots for lunch or tea (or even both) so this was where we headed to get our trip off to a good start, pulling into the small parking area after a 40 minute drive and stopping under the massive tree that was mostly bare but showing signs of the approaching Spring.

Eight Bells Mountain Inn entrance
Trees towering over the rooms

We had left home in light rain, but by the time we got to our lunch stop it had cleared with just enough cloud cover to make the light good for photography. After a tasty lunch (their ostrich burgers are recommended) we ventured further up the pass and were soon into the zone where the Proteas were flowering. Gerda’s photos give an idea of what the roadside looks like at this time of year –

I drove as slowly as possible, keeping an eye on the rear view mirror for approaching vehicles, as the road is narrow with few chances to overtake, pulling off wherever I could safely do so to allow faster vehicles to pass and to give us a chance to have a closer look at the multitude of flowers. That proved to be the right strategy as we noticed some hidden, small flowers among the much bolder Proteas.

Now my botanical knowledge is not on a par with my birding knowledge but I spent a while paging through our books on Proteas and Fynbos and have hopefully identified them correctly…..

Protea neriifolia / Oleander-leaf Protea / Baardsuikerbos
Fairly sure this is a Leucadendron but not sure of species name

Continuing up the pass, we soon reached the top at 860 metres and some way down the other side there was a safe place to pull off and turn around for the return journey. Gerda had spotted a prominent pink Protea on the way down which we soon found – there was enough of a margin to pull off and take a few shots.

Other Proteas caught our eye further on

Protea aurea / Common Shuttlecock sugarbush / Geelsuikerbos

And those that shall remain unnamed (only because I could not find them in the reference books)

The view down the pass and across the valleys and distant mountains was worth a stop on the way back

Just to round off the day we returned to Eight Bells in time for afternoon tea and their superb apple pie with ice cream – I mean, why just do it if you can over-do it!

Sated, in all respects, we returned home

4 thoughts on “Robinson Pass – Eight Bells and Many Flowers”

  1. I have thoroughly enjoyed this trip up and down Robinson Pass – we have some spectacular passes in this country and the floral bounty you have shared here is so heartening. Well done to Gerda for giving us a taste of it. A flip through my wild flower guide does not help me to help you with identification either: one actually needs a tome the size of the big Roberts to cover the myriad wild flowers we have! Those white bell-like flowers (above the pink ones) are blooming here too.

    1. Apologies for the delayed response – even in retirement I don’t get to everything I want to do! You are right about the guides to fynbos etc not always helping much – thought it was just our lack of knowledge (which it is to a great extent) but we find ourselves paging back and forward, finding what we think is the right species, only to find three more just like it on the next pages, all with different names. …

  2. Absolutely gorgeous photos. Someday, when travel resumes and the virus wanes, we need for visit your continent. Both for the flora, fauna, history, and people. Thanks.

    1. Something to look forward to indeed – we have a grandchild in Australia that we haven’t yet met other than on video calls so I suspect that will be our first destination

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.