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Table Mountain Park opens after fires

Table Mountain Park opens after fires

Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has announced the re-opening of certain burnt areas which had been closed off to the public due to the fire that broke out in March.

TMNP Area Manager, Gavin Bell, says: “Teams have been hard at work implementing rehabilitation plans to allow for the re-opening of certain areas.”

The mountains above Lakeside, Muizenberg, St James and Kalk Bay will reopen to the public from September 14-19.

Permitted recreational activities in the re-opened areas will continue as before, including hiking and dog walking. Visitors are requested to remain on demarcated footpaths and to be mindful of rules pertaining to keeping dogs under control.

Re-opened paths following the fires in the park include: Pecks Valley, Bailey’s Kloof, Spes Bona, Echo Valley, Trappies Kop, Ou Kraal and Steenberg Plateau.

The Gifkommetjie and Circles Vlei areas, in the Cape of Good Hope section of the park, have also been re-opened to the public. Burnt infrastructure has been replaced and visible signage has been put up to indicate existing routes

The Silvermine area, including the mountains above Hout Bay, Noordhoek and Constantia, will reopen by the end of December 2015. The Upper Tokai section of the park remains closed as rehabilitation work still in progress. The area may reopen in early 2016.

The recovery of fynbos in the park has been closely monitored by a number of scientists, studying the return of plants and animals after the fire. SANParks Regional Ecologist, Carly Cowell, said: “Camera traps and spoor are providing evidence of animal movements while other signs show the return of insects, birds and reptiles to the area. However, everything is still in a very delicate stage.”

Five months after the fire, fynbos recovery is showing great progress and park rangers have reported sightings of grysbok, however, the animals are very weary as they have no cover of protection from predators, says TMNP

These areas were closed for the safety of visitors and to allow natural systems to recover.

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