The Best Places to View the Cape’s Spring Flowers

Stop and Instagram the wildflowers!

For a few precious weeks each year – from mid-August until end-October – the fields, farms, wetlands and dunes of the Western Cape burst into a magnificent riot of colour as the wildflowers come into bloom. It’s a short-lived period, during which bloomers and boomers, Gen Xers and Zs hop into their preferred modes of transport to come and witness the wonder of the West Coast’s wildflowers. We’re not joking when we say “Blink and you’ll miss it”; because before you know it, the fields have turned brownish-grey again and the floral splendour is over for another year. If you’re keen to make hay while the sun shines and get gazing at nature’s magnificent plan, here is our pick of floral hotspots for prime viewing this spring. (Make sure your cameras and smartphones are charged!) Which is your favourite spot to view the Cape’s spring flowers? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Where to view the Cape’s spring flowers by region:

The Cape’s West Coast

Postberg and West Coast National Park

Only open during springtime, Postberg is an almost completely undisturbed floral landscape in the West Coast National Park, open during August and September (peak flower months). Distance from Cape Town Around 1 hour and 30 minutes Floral expectations Daisies, sporries and magriets. Closest town Langebaan Where to stay Whaler’s Way in Churchhaven, which has a veranda right on the sandy shore and an obligatory hammock! Where to eat Geelbek Restaurant (or Die Strandloper in Langebaan, for its festive atmosphere) Fun fact Eve’s Trail is a two-and-a-half-day hike through the park that traces the footsteps of Eve, a young woman said to have lived 117 000 years ago. Entry During flower season, August – September 2021: R94 (SA citizens and residents with ID) R47 (children, 2 – 11 years) R144 (SADC nationals with valid passports) R72 (SADC children with valid passports) R210 (international adults; standard conservation fee) R105 (international children; standard conservation fee) Contact 022 772 2144
The Best Places to View the Cape’s Spring Flowers

Ramskop Nature Reserve

This reserve is well worth a visit, with the Cederberg mountains and orange groves as its backdrop. Distance from Cape Town Around 2 hours and 30 minutes Floral expectations Daisies, sporries, sugarbos and proteas. Closest town Clanwilliam Where to stay Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge Where to eat Veldskoendraai Entry R26 (adults) R20 (pensioners) R10 (children) Contact 027 482 8000

The Renosterveld Reserve

Just above Darling Primary School lies this charming 20-hectare flower reserve, where travellers can enjoy a plethora of spring flowers, as well bird-watching. Oh, and keep a keen eye out for the red-bellied tortoises. Distance from Cape Town Around 1 hour Floral expectations a variety of renosterbos, bellendini, kapokbos and vygies. Closest town Darling Where to eat 1910 The Old Forge Fun fact This is the vegetation that used to cover the crop fields and vineyards before they were cleared for agricultural activities. Entry Free

Citrusdal

Found on the N7, this is a family-favourite holiday spot for its hiking, camping, zip-lining and rock-climbing opportunities. Distance from Cape Town Around 2 hours Floral expectations Fields of maartblom, bloedblom, daises and fynbos Closest town Citrusdal Where to stay Cederkloof Botanical Retreat Where to eat Salome’s Grapevine Coffee Shop Fun Fact Citrusdal is famous for its hot springs, which according to legend, were created when a mighty ox named Kolberg stamped his hoof in the location where The Baths Hot Springs resort now lies (one of the resorts’ baths is named Kolberg in honour of the mythical ox). Entry Free

Tienie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve

Another stop along the R315, this reserve hosts a wide variety of flowers due to its varying topography. On this small patch of land, around 10% of the Cape Floral Kingdom can be found. Distance from Cape Town Around 1 hour and 10 minutes Floral expectations Butterfly lilies, lachenalia, chincherinchee and bulbs. Closest town Darling Where to stay !Khwa ttu Guest Houses and Bush Camp Fun fact Marthinus Versfeld (also known as Oom Tienie) donated a portion of his farm to SANBI for the reserve. Entry Free Contact 022 492 3361

Columbine Nature Reserve

A relatively short way along the R27, this reserve offers candidly beautiful views of the spring flowers, as well as whale- and dolphin-spotting opportunities. Distance from Cape Town Around 2 hours Floral expectations An array of fynbos and Karoo succulents. Closest town Paternoster Where to stay Gonana Guesthouse Where to eat Wolfgat Other stuff to do and see Hiking, cycling, kayaking, nature walks, picnics and game-spotting. Fun fact It is named after the last manually controlled lighthouse built in South Africa. Entry R29 (adults) R20 (children) Contact 022 7522 718
The Best Places to View the Cape’s Spring Flowers

The Overberg

Harold Porter Botanical Garden

Distance from Cape Town Around 1 hour and 30 minutes Floral expectations From proteas to daisies and orchids, this garden has it all – indigenously speaking, of course. Closest town Betty’s Bay Where to stay Pringle Bay Villa or Restio River House Where to eat The Tides Restaurant Fun fact The zigzag paths and the waterfall trail, still in use today, were marked out by Harold Porter himself. Entry R35 (adults) R22 (students) R25 (pensioners) R15 (children) Free (Botanical Society members) Contact 028 272 9311, [email protected]

Fernkloof Nature Reserve

Distance from Cape Town Around 1 hour and 50 minutes Floral expectation a variety of fynbos– proteas, ericas, bulbs and orchids. Closest town Hermanus Where to stay Stonehaven Eco Cabins Where to eat Lizette’s Kitchen Bar and Restaurant Fun fact The Fernkloof Nature Reserve comprises 0.002% of the Cape Floral Kingdom but contains 18% of its plants in just 18 square kilometres. Entry Free (donations welcome) Contact 028 313 0819

The Karoo

Karoo Desert National Botanical Gardens

This unique 154-hectare garden lies at the foot of the Hex River Mountain range in Worcester, and boasts 143 hectares of natural vegetation (of which only 11 hectares has been cultivated). During spring, the annuals and vygies come to life, creating a beautiful tapestry of vibrant colours that can be enjoyed while exploring the cultivated section. Distance from Cape Town Around 1 hour and 30 minutes Floral expectations succulents, annuals and vygies. Closest town Worcester Where to stay Eikehof Farm Where to eat Kokerboom Restaurant Fun fact Because of a lack of water and the re-routing of the national road, the garden moved from Matjiesfontein to Worcester in 1945. Entry R35 (adults) R15 (students) R25 (pensioners) R10 (children) Free (Botanical Society members, disabled persons and preschool children) Contact 023 342 1298, [email protected]

Blooming marvellous!

No plans to travel up the coast to flower-gaze? Fear not, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in the leafy suburb of Newlands is a thing of beauty between August and September, when the spring flowers are in bloom.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

This 36-hectare garden on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain needs no introduction, as it has one of the most impressive expanses of flowers found so close to the city centre. Distance from the city centre Around 20 minutes Floral expectations Daisies, fynbos and pincushion proteas are just a few of the numerous flowers to be found. Fun fact It is the first botanic garden in the world dedicated to indigenous flora. Entry R80 (SA adults) R200 (standard, adults) R45 (students with a valid card) R25 (children 6 – 17 years) Free (children under 6, BotSoc members) Free (senior citizens with ID on Tuesdays, except public holidays) Contact 021 799 8782, [email protected] Book Now

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