The Best Places to View the Cape’s Spring Flowers

The Best Places to View the Cape’s Spring Flowers

Stop and smell the spring flowers because, before you know it, they’ll be gone…

For a few precious weeks each year the 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 from mid-August until end-September. And then, before you’ve blinked, it’s back to the 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. (Make sure your cameras and smartphones are charged!)

Have you ever enjoyed viewing the spring flowers in all their magnificent glory? Which is your favourite place to do so? 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
The Overberg
The Karoo

The Cape’s West Coast

Postberg and West Coast National Park

postberg west coast national park spring flowers
Holiday Guest House

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).
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 the obligatory hammock!
Where to eat Geelbek Restaurant (or Die Strandloper in Langebaan, for its festive atmosphere)
Entry fee During flower season, August – September 2019:
R83 (SA citizens and residents with ID)
R42 (children, 2 – 11 years)
R127 (SADC nationals with valid passports)
R63 (SADC children with valid passports)
R186 (international adults; standard conservation fee)
R93 (international children; standard conservation fee)
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.

Namaqua National Park

namaqua national park spring flowers
SA Venues

This semi-desert landscape undergoes an amazing transformation during springtime, when its rolling hills are covered in a carpet of colourful wildflowers. Namaqualand’s vibrant flower fields comprise an estimated 3 500 species of plants, 1 000 of which are found nowhere else in the world.
Distance from Cape Town Around 6 hours
Floral expectations a variety of small succulents, annuals and bulbs.
Closest town Springbok
Where to stay Naries Namakwa Retreat in Springbok
Where to eat Tauren Steak Ranch Restaurant
Entry fees Daily Conservation Fee: 1 November 2018 – 31 October 2019:
R43 (South African citizens and residents with ID)
R22 (South African children)
R85 (SADC nationals with valid passports)
R43 (SADC children with valid passports)
R85 (international visitors; standard conservation fee)
R43 (international children; standard conservation fee)
Fun fact The area is home to the world’s smallest species of tortoise – the Namaqualand speckled padloper.

Ramskop Nature Reserve

ramskop spring flowers

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)

The Renosterveld Reserve

the renosterveld reserve spring flowers
Southern Vines

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 stay Darling Lodge Guest House
Where to eat 1910 The Old Forge
Entry Free
Fun fact This is the vegetation that used to cover the crop fields and vineyards before they were cleared for agricultural activities

Citrusdal

citrusdal spring flowers
Lanz von Horsten

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 Citrusdal Botanical Retreat
Where to eat The Grapevine Coffee Shop
Entry Free
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).

Tienie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve

tienie versfeld wildflower reserve spring flowers-

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
Where to eat Chicory Cheese Café
Entry Free
Fun fact Marthinus Versfeld (also known as Oom Tienie) donated a portion of his farm to SANBI for the reserve.
Don’t miss The 102nd Darling Wildflower Show from 20 – 22 September 2019.

Columbine Nature Reserve

columbine nature reserve spring flowers
Paternoster

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 Linhof Boutique Guest House
Where to eat Wolfgat
Entry R30.80
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.

The Overberg

Harold Porter Botanical Garden

harold porter botanical garden spring flowers
Kure Kure

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 Oudebosch Eco Cabins
Where to eat The Tides Restaurant
Entry Costs from 1 September:
R30 (adults)
R20 (students and pensioners)
R12 (school learners)
Free (children under 6 years and Botanical Society members)
Fun fact: The zigzag paths and the waterfall trail, still in use today, were marked out by Harold Porter himself.

Fernkloof Nature Reserve

fernkloof nature reserve spring flowers
Bicycle South

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 Mosselberg on Grotto Beach
Where to eat Lizette’s Kitchen Bar and Restaurant
Entry Free (donations welcome)
Please note during the Hermanus Flower Festival (21 – 24 September 2019), entry costs R25 (adults); R10 (pensioners on Monday); and is free for children.
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.

The Karoo

Nieuwoudtville and Hantam National Botanical Garden

nieuwoudtville and hantam national botanical garden spring flowers
shinsawano

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 R27 you’ll find almost 6 000 hectares of the Northern Cape’s first botanical garden. What was once a farm is now a renowned stop on the Cape Flower Route.
Distance from Cape Town Around 3 hours and 50 minutes
Floral expectations a variety of annuals and bulbs.
Closest town Nieuwoudtville
Where to stay Papkuilsfontein Guest Farm
Where to eat Die Nedersetting Restaurant and Smitdswinkel Restaurant
Entry August – October 2019:
R20 (adults)
R15 (students)
R12 (pensioners and children)
Free (Botanical Society members)
Fun fact Hantam National Botanical Garden was declared a world biodiversity treasure by David Attenborough.

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 De Wilge
Where to eat Kokerboom Restaurant
Entry Low season (1 November 2019– 31 May 2020)
R15 (adults)
R10 (students and pensioners)
R5 (scholars)
Free (Botanical Society members, disabled persons and preschool children)
High season (1 June – 31 October 2019)
R25 (adults)
R15 (students and pensioners)
R15 (scholars)
Free (Botanical Society members, disabled persons and preschool children)
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.

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.
Entry fee Free (children 0 – 5 years)
R20 (children/ scholars 6 – 17 years)
R40 (students)
R75 (adults, from 1 September 2019)
Free (BotSoc members with card)
Free on Tuesdays (South African pensioners with ID)
Book Now
Fun fact It is the first botanic garden in the world dedicated to indigenous flora.

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Research by Bianca Hausle, Matthew Flax and Hannah Littlewood

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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 14 August 2019

5 Responses to “The Best Places to View the Cape’s Spring Flowers”

  1. Avatar

    deon coetzee

    stuur

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    Ruth Hahn

    Very well researched article. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    Glynis

    I want to know when is the best time to visit the flowers thus year.

    Reply
  4. Avatar

    Bridget Lamont

    Tienie Versveld (near Darling) is missing from your list… It is one of the best spots.

    Reply