Discovering Deer Park
Nestled in the stem of Table Mountain lies a world uninhabited by humans. The lush green tree roofs act as a comforting shelter from the harsh sun. The gushing water envelopes naturally placed rocks, creating a web of fresh streams and dams. The perfect place for a slow stroll, a faster paced endurance sport, or simply an escape from the city.
Deer Park is situated at the top of Deer Park Drive, Vredehoek, just minutes away from Cape Town’s City Centre. The park is part of Table Mountain National Park, a small nature reserve that mimics that of the larger ecosystem of Cape Town’s natural environment. The park not only holds an exhibition of flora and fauna, but also acts as a historical site. In the distant past, slaves found the forest to be a place of refuge, a protective shelter from the horror happening below. Now, the strong standing mountain, rocks, and trees tell a story of history themselves. Natures fingerprints.
Once enclosed in the sanctuary that is Deer Park, one can observe many of the Western Cape’s finest flora. Proteas turn to the sun and smiling with colours, a vast showcase of fynbos, and some of the finest Stone Pine trees for miles. The plants are home to many animals, including an array of spectacular birds, chirping beetles, leaping frogs, and mousy mongooses, all wandering jubilantly through their natural homestead.
Gravel pathways lead visitors through the pine forest haven, bracketed by indigenous treats. Miniature waterfalls flow through gentle crevices to allow shallow pools of water. Every turn of the head offers a new perspective. One must simply look up, down, and around to discover the impeccable 360 view. Beneath Deer Park lies the city of Cape Town, and towering above stands Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain. Both create awe-inspiring views from all angles.
Other than the whimsical sights, one can relish in the sense of sound. The rustling of leaves, trickling of water, and chirping of birds drowns the hustling sounds of the harbored city. The fresh smell of cleansing rain and blooming vegetation provides an escape from the polluted city air. Deer Park truly is an organic experience of the senses.
However, the selfishness and carelessness of man has seeped into the untamed forest, violating and hindering this ecosystem, wrecking parts of the foliage. Discarded empty food packages, cigarette buds, broken bottles, and used nappies are a few of the inorganic products left contaminating the surroundings. Carcasses of burnt wood, whose ashes spread the memory of a fire through the park. It’s no wonder wildfires are igniting, destroying our natural environments. Animals are suffocating from the excess scrap left by humans. Plastic gnaws at their stomach, catches their throats, and infiltrates their home.
Although the awareness of global warming has increased, it has not encouraged a great amount of change. The majority live harsh realities, why should they care about the natural planet? Maybe life will change if nature is revitalized, reenergized, revived. Maybe, if the natural order is restored, more will follow this order. More will find a base through nature, a level of purity that encourages them to strive for a better world. A butterfly effect where caring offers care, protection offers protection. The more the consciousness of the world is shifted, the more humans will reunite with themselves, with each other, and with the Earth. Maybe, if we start now, one day the world will flush away the greed. The future of our race will be written within the pages of hope.
Deer Park is a native emblem of Cape Town. A connection to our roots and a natural celebration of life and its offerings. We must preserve areas such as these not only for our recreational purposes, but for the species that call these places home. All have a reason to live, and we can save ourselves and those who share the Earth with us if we start taking the steps towards change. It starts with you, and it starts now.