Flower season is here! The spring wild flowers are a natural phenomenon that can be seen annually in certain parts of South Africa. This year we decided to drive further north, to see the flowers in all its blooming glory.
Flower season starts in July and ends in September. The number of blooming flowers are weather dependant. The amount of rain, wind and temperatures all impact how good the flower season will be. The best time to view them is mid-August to mid-September. The areas up north, is hotter, so the flowers are in full blossom in August, whereas the flowers in the southern areas will blossom until September.
My favourite areas to see wild flowers:
The best area to see the largest spread of wild flowers in South Africa, is Namaqualand, in the Northern Cape. The Skilpad and Namaqua National park is one of the largest areas to view the flowers. Namaqua National park has around “3500 species of flowers, of which 1000 species some can only be found in this area and no where else in the world”. (experience northern cape)
The next flower hot spot is Nieuwoudtville, which is also the bulb capital of the world. There are designated areas to view an array of flower species, the Nieuwoudtville wild flower reserve (free entry) and Hantam National Botanical Garden (R20 per adult entry fee). We found some of the best areas to see the flowers are around town. There are carpets of vibrant daisies everywhere you drive, from the side walks to farmlands. The land becomes a carpet of vibrant colours for everyone to enjoy.
Closer to Cape Town, the flowers can be viewed at the West Coast National Park, in the Western Cape. The northern section of the park, Postberg Flower reserve, is a hotspot for Capetonians to enjoy this phenomenon. There are game and tortoises to view in this section of the national park. Visitors have also spotted whales from Postberg, so look out for some when you are done enjoying the flowers.
That’s so Darling:
Darling is part of the Cape floral region and hosts an annual wild flower show. This year is takes place on the 14 to 16 September 2018. There are other attractions like the Evita Perron theatre and vineyards to visit.
As the flowers are weather dependant, be prepared to drive further afield to find flowers if there are no flowers in the area you choose to visit. Wild flowers can also be found in the Cederberg area. Other activities in this area are Rooibos farms visits, tea tasting at the Rooibos tea house, hiking or viewing rock art. Clanwilliam hosts a wild flower show and there is a botanical garden to view flowers. Check with the local tourism office to find out more.
Wild flowers on the road to the Karoo:
We also saw flowers on the road from Nieuwoudtville to Calvinia and from Matjiesfontein to Sutherland. The further north we travelled, the further apart the towns were, so there were longer distances to travel to see the flowers. Unfortunately, there were no flowers in Calvinia when we visited mid-August, as there was not enough rain in this area.
Plan your wild flower trip:
Call the local tourist information centre for information on whether there are flowers before you go. We found the locals in the small towns, friendly and hospitable, are more than willing to assist. It is best to travel from north to south, with the sun behind you when viewing the flowers, so plan accordingly.
Tips for viewing wild flowers:
- It is best to visit on a sunny day. The flowers will not open if it is raining or the temperature drops below about 18 degrees.
- The best viewing times are between 10h30am and 4pm. Arrive early to avoid crowds. On a sunny days (weekends), the West Coast National Park becomes very busy, as it is located so close to the city. In peak times, you can queue in your car more than an hour to get into the park.
- Try not to step on the flowers/plants.
- Please do not pick the flowers, they are there for everyone to enjoy.
- While some wildflower nature reserves have no entry fees, some do have an entrance fee. Take cash as card paying facilities are not always available.
- Take drinking water, as there are not always shops close by.
- Do not get stuck without fuel! We made sure we had enough fuel, as the further north we drove, the further apart the towns and less facilities available.
Until next time. Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers!
All images taken by and copyright of @InSearchofChocolate