Day trips to the Spring wild flowers from Cape Town
SPRING is here, and the wildflowers are way too beautiful not to be seen. So we filled our flask, jumped in the car and set off to the Cape’s Flower Regions.
It turns out, they’re actually day-trip distance away and not a weekend trek like we thought!
Flower season runs between August and early November, with the best time between late August and mid-September. Unfortunately, the Cape Town droughts have reduced the amount of early blooms – but they are still worth the trip -and probably more so towards mid and late-September.
Cape Town itself has wildflowers blooming within the Table Mountain National Park. Our favorite spots to view the blooms are during a Lions Head or Elephant’s Eye (Silvermine Reserve) hike.
There’s also Kirstenbosch Botantical Gardens – an obvious choice for a close by and colourful Spring walk or picnic – being voted in the Top 10 of National Geographic’s Picnic Spots.
Here are our recommended flower stops in order of distance from Cape Town.
Wildflowers along the R27
Koeberg Nature Reserve *30kms
Just off the R27 in Melkbosstrand, you can find the Koeberg Nature Reserve. With a mixture of West Coast Standveld and Duineveld, the reserve offers a wild setting for the Spring blooms.
Darling *50kms/ 1 hour (R27 & R307)
During our flower hunt along the West Coast, we decided to side track quickly off the R27 and into Darling. The Darling Brewery craft beer was calling a certain flowered-out Mr Wanderer. But it turns – we had just entered the ultimate flower hotspot!
The Tienie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve is on the right just as you enter Darling.
The Renosterveld Reserve, behind the Darling Primary School, offers a circular walk through the Renosterbos. This reserve was donated by a local family with the sole purpose to preserve the local endemic flowers that only appear in Spring. How great?!
You can also go visit the 100th Darling Wildflower Show to see the best of the blooms. It’s running from the 14th to the 17th of September 2017, at the Darling Golf Club.
Otherwise just around the corner is the Hopefield Fynbos Show which offers a flower walk and market, displaying over 500 species of fynbos and daisies. It’s the best place to taste Spring with their waterblommetjiebredie (Afrikaans for ”little water-flower stew”). YUM!
The West Coast National Park *100kms/ 1.5 hours (R27)
View 30 000 hectares of yellow and white daisy hills in this extremely popular West Coast SAN Park reserve. Here the common daisies are joined by hints of deep orange and purple blooms with backdrops of rough seas, flat lagoons and rolling hills of antelope and other small curious wildlife.
Postberg Flower Reserve is closed the entire year and only opens during the Peak Flower Season in August and September. So make sure you drive to this unique section of the West Coast NP to see the very best!
Postberg also offers a 30km two-day trek through the wildflowers. With your own packed camping equipment, you can sleep beneath the Spring blooms, under the stars. YES PLEASE!
Columbine Nature Reserve * 160kms / 2.5 hours (R27)
The Cape Columbine Nature Reserve is 5 kms outside Paternoster and includes the area of Tietiesbaai. Besides the wide tapestry of wildflowers in Spring, this coastal reserve offers fishing, beach camping, whale watching and some lush hiking opportunities.
Wildflowers along the N7
If you continue driving away from Cape Town, along the R27, you will eventually find yourself on the N7 (heading up towards Namibia). Although a further drive, the below spots are up there with the best in South Africa. We recommend making the below spots a weekend or long weekend getaway.
Citrusdal *180kms/ 2.5 hours (N7)
Citrusdal offers the best of both worlds – vibrant citrus orchards and delicate wildflowers.
Clanwilliam *230kms / 2.5 hours (N7)
Clanwilliam’s Ramskop Nature Reserve offers endless hills of indigenous wildflowers that overlook the Clanwilliam Dam and the picturesque Cederberg mountains. Make sure to visit the annual Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show set in the enchanting old Flower Church. However, this year (2017) has been canceled, due to the drought.
Nieuwoudtville *350kms/ 4 hours (N7)
Just 5 kms outside Nieuwoudtville town, is the Nieuwoudtville Flower Reserve and the Hantam National Botanical Garden. These reserves have a wide variety of bulbs, aparntly some of the best in the Cape.
Namaqua National Park *530kms / 6 hours (N7)
The Namaqualand, although still on the West Coast, is actually in the Northern Cape. But if fresh air, wild seas and wide open landscapes intrique you, take a long weekend trip to this incredible and much less-crowded Spring destination. Make sure to visit the Namaqua National Park and more specifically, the Skilpad Nature Reserve by Kamieskroon. The infamous Namaqualand Daisies are waiting!
The N1 Route
The Karoo Desert National Botanic Reserve *110kms / 1.4 hours (N1)
Just outside Worcester – the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden has the largest variety of indigenous succulents in the country. Visit in Spring to view the wild daisies beneath the Koekerboom trees.
Matjiesfontein * 240kms/ 3 hours (N1)
The Matjiesfontein Flower Route is 14 kms outside Nieuwoudtville and offers tractor and wagon tours through 7 kms of wildflowers. This is probably a fun activity to do with kids.
Tankwa Karoo National Park *315kms / 4.5 hours (between N1 and N7)
Between the N1 and the N7, you will find your daisy dream in the West of Tankwa Karoo National Park. Drive to the park’s Roggeveld Escarpment to see the purple haze of flowers crowded by bursts of orange and yellow daisies. Tankwa’s rolling hills provide the ideal destination for a tranquil weekend.
The Overberg | Cape Winelands
So just to recap, from Cape Town, you can either flower hunt along the West Coast towards Namibia, the N1 towards the Karoo or along the Overberg Route towards Knysna. So if the Overberg is closest to you, then go enjoy the quaint farm stores and wine farms that surround the Spring wildflowers.
Hermanus *120kms/ 2 hours (N2)
The Hermanus Botanical Flower Festival is on the 22th-25th September 2017, at the Fernkloof Nature Reserve. Every year this festival serves as an opportunity for small towns to display their Spring bloom bests! This whale-watching town also allows you to take some of the flowers home with you.
Bontebok National Park *220kms / 3 hours (N2)
The Langeberg Mountains in Bontebok Park provide a majestic backdrop to the wildflowers. This park, as part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, can be found outside Swellendam on the N2.
The Overberg Canola Fields *everywhere
The bright almost luminous Canola Fields can be found all along the Overberg Route. We found endless yellow fields along the main freeway from Cape Town to Calendon.
Now go get wild in the flowers this Spring!!
And try not to pick or trample on them so we can still be friends 😉 !
Visit our South Africa Page for other must do and see experiences.