For a few precious weeks each year the Western Cape is a wonderland of wildflowers. Our fields and farms, wetlands and dunes are chequered with a short-lived riot of magnificent colour and delicious-smelling blooms. And then, before you’ve blinked, it’s back to brownish-grey fields and long, dry months. Which is why, it’s essential to make hay while the sun shines and get gazing at nature’s magnificent plan. Here’s our pick of floral hotspots for prime viewing this spring. (And make sure your cameras and smartphones are charged!)
1. POSTBERG AND WEST COAST NATIONAL PARK
Only open during springtime, Postberg is an almost completely undisturbed floral landscape found in the West Coast National Park, which is open during August and September (peak flower months).
Floral expectations Daisies, sporries and magriets
Other stuff to do and see Home to zebra, buck, snakes and tortoises, the park can be
experienced by car, mountain bikes or by foot.
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.
Distance from Cape Town Around 1 hour and 50 minutes
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 a city centre.
Floral expectations Daisies, fynbos and pincushion proteas are just a few of the numerous
flowers to be found.
Other stuff to do and see Ranked number 6 on National Geographic’s Top 10 Picnic Spots,
Kirstenbosch is one of our favourite Afternoon Tea Spots.
Fun fact It is the first botanic garden in the world dedicated to indigenous flora.
Distance from the city centre Around 20 minutes
3. THE RENOSTERVELD RESERVE
Found just above Darling Primary School lies this charming 20-hectare flower reserve, where travellers can enjoy a plethora of spring flowers, as well birdwatching. Oh, and keep a keen eye out for the red-bellied tortoises.
Floral expectations a variety of renosterbos, bellendini, kapokbos and vygies.
Other stuff to do and see Take a pair of sturdy walking shoes, and do the circular route around the reserve.
Fun fact The land that the reserve is on was donated to the local community by the Versveld family in 1958.
Distance Around 1 hour
4. RAMSKOP NATURE RESERVE
This reserve is well worth a visit, with the Cederberg mountains and orange groves as its backdrop.
Floral expectations Daisies, sporries, sugarbos and proteas.
Other stuff to do and see Relax and enjoy the scenery with a picnic, while taking in the
abundant bird- and other wildlife.
Distance from Cape Town Around 2 hours and 30 minutes
Found on the N7, this is a family-favourite holiday spot for its hiking, camping, zip-lining and rock-climbing opportunities.
Floral expectations Fields of maartblom, bloedblom, daises and fynbos.
Other stuff to do and see Bird-watching, fishing and soaking in the hot springs, naturally.
Don’t miss the annual Spring Art Exhibition.
Distance from Cape Town Around 2 hours
6. TIENIE VERSFELD WILDFLOWER RESERVE
Another stop along the N7, 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.
Floral expectations Butterfly lilies, lachenalia, chincherinchee and bulbs.
Other stuff to do and see Bird-watching, game-spotting, walking and cycling along the paths, and picnics.
Fun fact It forms part of a farm donated by Marthinus Versveld (also known as Oom Tienie).
Don’t miss The 100th Darling Wildflower Show from 14 – 17 September.
Distance from Cape Town Around 1 hour and 10 minutes
7. 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.
Floral expectations An array of fynbos and Karoo succulents.
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 to be built in South Africa.
Distance from Cape Town Around 2 hours
8. HAROLD PORTER BOTANICAL GARDEN
Following the N2 and R44 will take you to this magical garden known for its waterfalls and pools. Nestled between the mountains and the sea, it is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Floral expectations From proteas to daisies and orchids, this garden has it all – indigenously
speaking, of course.
Other stuff to do and see Aside from splendid walks, it is also close to a penguin colony and
Hermanus, which is renowned for whale-watching.
Fun fact The zigzag paths, still in use today, were marked out by Harold Porter himself.
Distance from Cape Town Around 1 hour and 30 minutes
9. NIEUWOUDTVILLE AND HANTAM NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDEN
Okay, so this one’s not strictly in the Cape, but we thought we’d include it anyway, because the blooms on offer are some of the best in the business. Found outside Nieuwoudtville on the N7 is 6 000 acres of the Northern Cape’s first botanical garden. What was once a farm is now a renowned stop on the Cape Flower Route.
Floral expectations a variety of Karoo succulents, fynbos and bulbs.
Other stuff to do and see Hiking and cycling, and game-spotting from designated picnic spots.
Fun fact Hantam National Botanical Garden was declared a world biodiversity treasure by
Distance Around 3 hours and 50 minutes
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