The coastal path at the settlement of Onrus meanders through fynbos vegetation above the rocky shoreline. On our recent visit we enjoyed the sea air, wonderful views of the kelp-laced ocean swells and breakers, and walking among the diversity of plants and birdlife.

It’s hard to know whether to focus on the restless sea, the plants alongside the path, the seabirds on the rocks and flying by, or to stop to catch sight of the small birds flitting about inland of the path. Fortunately there are well-placed benches along the way enabling walkers to rest and watch, chat or ponder.

View from Onrus coastal path of breakers and kelp

Watching the breakers and the bobbing kelp can be mesmerising

During our stay in Onrus, which is adjacent to Hermanus on the southern coast of the Western Cape, we experienced 24 hours of unusually heavy rain – welcome as there are ongoing water restrictions in place as the winter-rainfall region enters its dry season. The day after the rains the wind abated and the sun came out to provide the coastal path with a gleaming radiance.


The pale mauve and white flowers of a member of the Ice Plant Family gleam in the morning sunshine. I think that this is a species of Drosanthemum, one of the group of flowering succulents that are known in South Africa as vygies


Very showy are the lovely daisy-like flowers of the Senecio elegans


Attracted to the flowers alongside the path was this long-proboscid fly

Karoo Prinia singing from shrub at Onrus coastal path

Singing insistently next to the path and ignoring me as I peeped at it around and over the vegetation was this Karoo Prinia

  Hadeda Ibis at seaside on Onrus coastal path

I was surprised to see that the Hadeda Ibis has adapted to life at the seaside

  Dassie on rocks near coastal path, Onrus, Western Cape

From the path we spotted a solitary Rock Hyrax, known here as a Dassie, down among the rocks near to the sea

  Little Egret looking for prey in rock pools, Onrus

Also down in the rocks when the tide was out, we saw this Little Egret – stepping high and revealing a yellow foot – hoping to find food in the shallow rock pools


After preening, a cormorant spreads its wings against a background of surf

  Flowering Crassula

We thought this low-growing Crassula with its maroon fleshy leaves and tiny cream flowers was enchanting

  Pelargonium in flower at Onrus coastal path

The most prominent of the pelargoniums growing along the coastal path is the Pelargonium cuculatum 


A Grey Heron stands tall as it surveys the shoreline

View of stream into the sea from Onrus coastal path

 Fresh water from the heavy rain the night before streams down to the rocky shore

  View from Onrus coastal path across Walker Bay

On the previous overcast morning ahead of the rain, looking out past Hermanus across Walker Bay to De Kelders and Gansbaai, the mood on the coastal path was relatively subdued


Posted by Carol

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