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The 12 Best Places to View the Cape’s Wildflowers 2018

Cape’s WildflowersCape’s Wildflowers
Cape’s WildflowersCape’s Wildflowers

 

The 12 Best Places to View the Cape’s Wildflowers 2018

By The Inside Guide

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

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 from mid-August until end-September. 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!)

Have you been lucky enough to view the spring flowers? Which is your favourite place to do so? Please share your tips in the comments below.

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 on 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
Entry fee During flower season, August – September 2018:
R76 (SA citizens and residents with ID)
R38 (children)
R110 (SADC nationals with valid passports)
R55 (SADC children with valid passports)
R170 (international adults; standard conservation fee)
R85 (international children; standard conservation fee)

2. KIRSTENBOSCH

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 It’s ranked number 6 on National Geographic’s Top 10 Picnic Spots.
Fun fact It is the first botanic garden in the world dedicated to indigenous flora.
Distance from the city centre Around 20 minutes
Entry fee R65 (adults)
R35 (South African students with valid student card)
R15 (children, 6 – 17 years)
Free (children, 0 – 6 years; BotSoc members on presentation of membership card)
Free on Tuesdays (South African senior citizens with valid ID, except on public holidays)
Book online

3. NAMAQUALAND

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.
Floral expectations a variety of small succulents, annuals and bulbs.
Other stuff to do and see Walking, hiking, and mountain-biking along the various routes, and bird-watching. 
Fun fact The area is home to the world’s smallest species of tortoise – the Namaqualand speckled padloper.
Distance Around 6 hours
Entry fees Daily Conservation Fee: 1 April 2018 – 31 October 2018:
R41 (South African citizens and residents with ID)
R21 (South African children)
R81 (SADC nationals with valid passports)
R41 (SADC children with valid passports)
R81 (international visitors; standard conservation fee)
R41 (international children; standard conservation fee)

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
Entry fees R26 (adults)
R19 (pensioners)
R9 (children)

5. 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
Entry fees R25 (adults)
R15 (seniors and students with a valid student card)
R10 (children, 7 – 17 years)
Free (children, 0 – 6 and BotSoc members)

6. 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.
Floral expectations succulents, annuals and vygies.
Other stuff to do and see There are plenty of tours and hiking trails to be taken around the gardens, as well as picnics to be had. 
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.
Distance Around 3 hours and 50 minutes
Entry fees Low season (1 November – 31 May 2018)
R10 (adults) 
R7 (students)
R5 (children under 18 and pensioners)
Free (BOTSOC members and disabled persons)
High season (1 June – 31 October)
R22 (adults) 
R15 (students)
R12 (pensioners)
R10 (children under 18)
Free (BOTSOC members and disabled persons)

7. THE RENOSTERVELD RESERVE

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.
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

8. CITRUSDAL

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

9. TIENIE VERSFELD WILDFLOWER RESERVE

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.
Floral expectations Butterfly lilies, lachenalia, chincherinchee and bulbs.
Other stuff to do and see Bird-watching, game-spotting, and walking 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 101th Darling Wildflower Show from 14 – 16 September 2018.
Distance from Cape Town Around 1 hour and 10 minutes

10. FERNKLOOF NATURE RESERVE

Covering about 1 800 hectares in the Kleinrivier Mountains, Fernkloof’s unique topography (a combination of mountain and sea) has given rise to flourishing and diverse plant life, including some unique species of fynbos. A network of colour-coded hiking trails runs throughout the reserve, offering spectacular views of Walker Bay and the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
Floral expectations a variety of fynbos- proteas, ericas, bulbs, orchids….
Other stuff to do and see Hiking, bird watching, trail running, picnic in the gardens, cycling trail.  Maps are available at the Visitors’ Centre.
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.
Distance Around 3 hours and 50 minutes

11. 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

12. 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 almost 2 500 hectares 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 David Attenborough.
Distance Around 3 hours and 50 minutes
Entry fees August – October 2018:
R20 (adults)
R15 (South African students with a valid student card)
R12 (children and senior citizens)
Free (BotSoc members)

Source: The 12 Best Places to View the Cape’s Wildflowers 2018 first appeared on insideguide.co.za​​

Cape’s Wildflowers