Spring is flower season in the Northern and Western Cape and seemingly overnight the veld is transformed into a wildflower garden. The display is considered one of nature’s most incredible spectacles and we have four idyllic ways to experience it. By Elizabeth Erwee & Emma Vergunst
Best for hikers: West Coast National Park
It’s one thing to see the fields of flowers from your car. It’s a completely different experience to walk among the blooms. The 13.9km Steenbok Trail in West Coast National Park is a wonderful way to enjoy the sights if you’re an avid hiker. The hike will take you about six hours, but allow extra time for picnicking and taking in the view. For active birdwatchers this is also an enthralling route. Sought-after sightings include black harrier, Cape penduline-tit and Karoo lark.
Good to know: Only 20 people are allowed daily on the one-day Steenbok Trail. The trail must be booked in advance from the Geelbek Visitor Centre on +27 (0)22 7079 902/3.
Best for couples: Namaqua National Park
Could there be a more romantic experience than sleeping among the flowers? During flower season Namaqua National Park is host to two pop-up camps, one by the beach and one in the heart of the wildflower reserve. Love birds can spend cosy nights in their luxury cottage tent, which even boasts electric blankets. The camps allow for privacy and quiet, as well as quality couple time spent stargazing and going on romantic walks. Namaqua is not only known for its flowers but also the incredible sense of tranquillity.
Good to know: In 2018, Namaqua Flowers Beach Camp and Namaqua Flowers Skilpad Camp will operate from 23 August to 23 September. Visit their website for more.
Best for stressed workaholics: Kogelberg Nature Reserve
Put your phones in your car’s cubbyhole because you won’t need them in Kogelberg Nature Reserve. Being an area with no signal, it is the perfect place to escape the business of life and take in the beauty of nature. The luxury cabins in Kogelberg are ideal for late mornings in bed and chilly evenings spent by the fire. These cabins are ideal if what you’re looking for is a digital detox. While you won’t find the fields of flowers associated with the West Coast, you’ll find an astonishing variety of flowering bulbs in these mountains. So, take your time and stop to smell the flowers.
Good to know: The 6km Oudebos River Trail leads from Kogelberg Nature Reserve to the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens for the chance to view more blooming beauties. It is recommended to leave a car at the gardens for your return.
Best for families: Tankwa Karoo National Park
For cooped-up city kids the vast open spaces of the Tankwa Karoo present an irresistible playground. Here they can run, bike and play with no one around to hear them. The park has several restored homesteads which can sleep between six and nine people – Varschfontein has a small dam for swimming. There is also the option of camping and truly immersing yourself in nature. Enhance your experience as a family by travelling on a 4×4 route through the landscape. Watch as the surroundings change from a bare gravel path to land covered with an array of vibrant succulents and flowers.
Good to know: Leeuberg 4×4 Trail is an 11km route that takes in impressive hills. Spare tyre, puncture repair kit and compressor are essential.