Five fabulous ways to enjoy the flower season

Five fabulous ways to enjoy the flower season

Thanks to good winter rains, flower season will soon be in full swing. Here’s how to enjoy the beautiful blooms.

Earth smiles in flowers, they say… The planet must have plenty to smile about along the west coast of South Africa, because in spring the fields and meadows are covered in flowers as far as the eye can see.

South Africa’s wildflower display is considered one of nature’s greatest spectacles and is something you should see at least once in your life. We’ve got five unforgettable ways to make the most of flower season.

Take a drive

From Cape Town it’s little more than an hour’s drive to West Coast National Park, making it perfect for a day trip. And because the flowers are at their best between 11h00 and 15h00, you don’t even have to get up early. The Postberg Section of the park opens exclusively during peak flower season, in August and September. You’ll be blown away by the fields of colourful daisies and the sight of zebra and eland grazing among the reënblommetjies. Take a leisurely drive – there are a couple of loops – and marvel at the bright splotches of colour made up by hundreds and thousands of petals.

Make it happen

Entry into West Coast National Park: R76 an adult, R38 a child, Wild Card members free. The gates into the park open at 07h00. The Postberg Section is open from 09h00 until 17h00.

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Walk through the flowers

Namaqua National Park is the ultimate flower destination and the park’s Skilpad Wildflower Reserve is its very heart. Two easy walks follow circuitous paths through this wildflower garden. The 5km Skilpad Walking Trail leads you right past the famous flower carpets, where you might see gemsbok picking their way through masses of vivid orange Namaqualand and beetle daisies. The 3km Korhaan Walking Trail leads deeper into the bushy vegetation where you can see a greater variety of flowers. Both trails start at the Skilpad office – get a map from reception.

Make it happen

Entry into Namaqua National Park: R41 an adult, R21 a child, Wild Card members free. Gates are open from 08h00 to 17h00.

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Picnic overlooking the blooms

Could there be a more lyrical setting for a picnic lunch than amidst the spring flowers? Uitkyk Picnic Site in West Coast National Park is the turnaround point on a drive in the park’s Postberg Section. Here vibrant pink, orange and purple vygies are scattered among large granite boulders that offer views of Langebaan Lagoon and the open ocean. There’s no better spot to unfurl your picnic blanket and pop down a basket packed with bread, cheese, olives and chilled drinks.

Make it happen

Entry into West Coast National Park: R76 an adult, R38 a child, Wild Card members free. The gates into the park open at 07h00. The Postberg Section is open from 09h00 until 17h00.

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Tackle a backpacking trail

Seeing the flowers on foot gives you more time to drink in the visual feast and start identifying various species. At first sight all you’ll see are the masses of colourful daisies and vygies, but look closer and you’ll discover an astonishing variety of flowering bulbs in shades from pale lilac to lurid crimson. The Postberg Trail is a two-day hike that takes you through fields of flowers on the first day and along the coast for much of the second. Hikers have to carry their own tent and camping equipment, so it helps to be hiking fit. If you don’t manage to find an opening this year, pencil it in for 2019 – bookings open on 1 June.

Make it happen

Only 12 people a day are allowed on the Postberg Trail. Bookings must be made in advance through West Coast National Park’s Geelbek Visitor Centre on 022-707-9022/3.

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Sleep among the daisies

Just like the flowers magically appear when spring arrives in Namaqualand, so too do two luxury tented camps in Namaqua National Park. You’ll have to pick your way between delicate blooms to get to your canvas tent, which boasts proper beds with cosy duvets and electric blankets, as well as an en-suite bathroom. There’s no question of roughing it at these campsites. Guests are spoilt with three-course meals and decadent treats at high tea. The greatest luxury? Time to smell the flowers.

Make it happen

Namaqua Flower Beach and Skilpad Camp: R2 250 a person sharing a night, including breakfast, high tea and three-course dinner. The pop-up camp operates from 23 August to 23 September 2018 only. Visit the website or call 084-299-5777.

Make the most of Flower Season

With a Wild Card in your pocket, you can visit parks and reserves whenever you want to smell the flowers. An annual membership gives you a year’s unlimited entry to more than 80 parks and reserves in the programme, including the flower hotspots of Namaqua and West Coast National Parks. Visit the website to find out more and get tips on flower viewing, advice on taking great photos and accommodation suggestions.

 

 
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Calling all nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts – a Wild Card is your ticket to experience the unspoilt beauty of Southern Africa, 365 days a year! With more than 80 parks and reserves through its wide-reaching network of conservation partners, the wild is your oyster.

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