Written by Catherine Clulow
Let Mother-Nature show off and where better to witness her display than along the West Coast where you’ll be treated to fields of flowering heads.
If you’ve never had the chance to go bloom bashing and see the usually dusty earth erupt into a tapestry of colour (and even if you’ve already been once or twice or more), what are you waiting for, here are 5 reasons to visit the Wildflowers this September brought to you by the Botanical Society of SA.
Mother-nature is shaking off her wintery slumber and smiling up at the summer months ahead. Head on out and ring in spring with a bit of pomp and ceremony, why not?
Observe nature vibrant and beautiful
The rainbow of hues you may experience is simply breath-taking! From rich wild cineraria to snow white rain daisies in the Sandveld to a diversity of blooming bulbs spread beauty and the earth laughs in flowers basking in the spring sunshine.
Explore and appreciate what’s left of the critically endangered Renosterveld
Go to the Darling/Mamre/ Hopefield areas and enjoy this group of privately owned nature reserves which display the spectacular diversity of this region. Don’t miss the 99th Darling Wildflower show next weekend (16-18 Sept. 2016), you can find out all about this must-see event here.
Find out all about Renosterveld here.
Reconnect with real beauty
Unchain yourself from your desk, unglue your eyes from screens, switch off your mobile and head off into nature to relax, appreciate and unwind. Trust me, it’s good for you and you’ll feel fantastic afterwards. Take notice of the sheer magnitude of the natural world instead of worrying who tweeted what, who friended whom or why you’re too square for your small circle. The spring flowers are a tangible reminder of the finer things in life, to be treasured and enjoyed.
Rediscover South Africa’s national parks
It’s exhilarating to enjoy a day out in one of the Cape region’s five protected national parks, taking time to view the spring flowers in the West Coast National Park- wetland-rich strandveld snug against the Langebaan Lagoon- what a convenient way to rediscover some of SA’s most beautiful areas.
Frequently asked questions:
WHAT? What else might I see when out and about amongst the spring flowers?
All of the towns on the West Coast have the most hospitable and interesting people who will make your stay with them a memorable one. There are a number of guest houses, self-catering and camping facilities. Other activities include hiking, birding, fishing, game watching, body boarding, mountain biking and more.
Throughout the area there are countless birds, buck and bugs. Keep your eyes peeled and you may even spot passing whales and dolphins off the coast, bat-eared foxes, mongooses and other wildlife
WHY? Why bother hopping in the car and heading out?
We live in a beautifully biodiverse country with pleasures like these on our doorsteps, so why not enjoy them. Also the reasons you read above.
- WHEN? When is the best time to view the spring flowers in the West Coast region of the Cape Floral Kingdom?
August/ September is the best time to visit the flowers, bearing in mind that whatever the weather’s doing may impact any ‘usual’ timing expectations. Also keep in mind that the flowers only throw back their delicate heads on sunny days (between 10h30 and 15h30 is best). So don’t go bloom hunting on a cloudy afternoon, and wait until the sun is high in the sky.
- WHERE? Where can I visit the flowers in the Cape region?
There are three public nature reserves (Groenkloof, Renosterveld and Tienie Versveld) and four private nature reserves (Contreberg, Waylands, Oudepost and Bokbaai Vygie route) in the Darling/ Yzerfontein District. Mamre has a small reserve and Hopefield has a most beautiful reserve opposite the show grounds.
- HOW? Can I join a spring flower tour or follow a trail?
You may contact the various tourism offices of the local towns in the area for local guided tours that are available.
The West Coast Biosphere Reserve has several tours/trails available.
The West Coast National Park does not offer formal tours but has a number of self-drive routes available, and in the Park, there are two trails that give uber passionate flower followers an opportunity to get both an up-close look at the plant life and some spring exercise (bookings essential for both hikes).
Chat with the folk of the Darling Wildflower Society.
Enjoy your blooming adventures, stay safe and blossom in awe and appreciation of our amazing natural heritage.