Everything is coming up daisies! Abundant winter rains mean nature lovers can expect eye-catching floral displays this spring. South Africa’s arid western parts get a new lease on life as bulbs bloom, daisies spring up and vygies shimmer in candy colours.
The wildflower display is deemed one of Mother Nature’s most impressive performances and visitors journey from far and wide to witness the spectacle. We’ve got four ways to indulge in flower mania.
Driving Miss Daisy
Just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town lies West Coast National Park, the ideal destination for a flower day trip. Even better, you won’t have to set off at dawn since the flowers are at their best between 11h00 and 15h00.
This time of year is the only period when the Postberg Section of the park is open to visitors – an opportunity not to be missed. Picture carpets of colourful daisies and the enchanting sight of eland feeding amidst the flowers.
The park roads wind through this incredible display and you can feast your eyes on unforgettable floral scenes from the comfort of your car. A leisurely drive is highly recommended as a way of seeing the big picture.
Good to know: Entry into West Coast National Park R83 an adult, R42 a child, Wild Card members free. The gates into the park open at 07h00. The Postberg Section is open from 09h00 until 17h00 until the end of September only.
Footprints among the flowers
Namaqua National Park is synonymous with flower season. When you picture fields of dazzling daisies, you’re thinking of Namaqua’s Skilpad Wildflower Reserve, situated near park reception. This is the way to get up close and personal with masses of flowers. Warning: you might lose your heart to Namaqualand.
The two meandering trails that wend through this wild garden are easy enough for visitors of all ages. And at relatively short distances you can afford to regularly ‘stop and smell the flowers’.
Along the 5km Skilpad Walking Trail you’ll pass the famous flower carpets: vibrant orange Namaqualand daisies and beetle daisies. The 3km Korhaan Walking Trail leads deeper into the bushy vegetation and offers a greater variety of blooms. Both trails start at the Skilpad office – get a map from reception.
Good to know: Entry into Namaqua National Park R43 an adult, R22 a child, Wild Card members free. Gates are open from 08h00 to 17h00.
A picnic lunch amidst pretty blooms must be the ultimate spring-time activity and we’ve got just the spot. Uitkyk Picnic Site in West Coast National Park offers flowers and views in spades. Here vivid pink and purple vygies bloom among massive granite boulders that look out onto Langebaan Lagoon.
Pack a picnic basket with your favourite snacks and chilled drinks, grab a blanket and stake out a spot at this idyllic location. On a balmy spring day you’ll be tempted to spend an hour or two.
Good to know: Uitkyk is conveniently situated at the turnaround point on a drive in the park’s Postberg Section, so plan your day around it.
Off the beaten track
For flower lovers looking to escape the crowds, it’s worth venturing further inland to the Cederberg Wilderness Area. You’ll find dramatic scenery, an abundance of solitude and the marvel of flowers that seemingly appear overnight.
Be prepared that you won’t find the West Coast’s masses of flowers. But the Cederberg’s riches are to be treasured all the more for being scarce. This is a hiker’s paradise and on any of the several day walks you can zoom in on the rich variety of floral species that occur.
It’s an outing for the floral connoisseur, with unusual and delicate blooms to be seen. As an added bonus, you’ll see plenty of reënblommetjies and daisies along the roadside verges on your way there.
Good to know: Day hikes R60 an adult, R35 a child, available from Algeria and Kliphuis offices.