In springtime the Cape West Coast plays host to arguably the greatest flower show on earth when its planes explode into colour. Here, in no particular order, are ten of the best spots for a front-row seat.
Blaauwberg Nature Reserve
Known as the official beginning of the Cape West Coast flora, the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve has spectacular views across the cityscape and coastline, including one of the few in the world where you can see two World Heritage Sites – Table Mountain and Robben Island.
Its wetland has an abundance of plant, mammal, bird and reptile species, as well as various amphibians.
Part of the Culture route on the R27
Where: Cape Farms, just north of Blaauwberg on the R27 or Otto Du Plessis Drive
Contact: +27 (0)21 554 0957 | +27 (0)21 444 0454 (Eerstesteen Resort)
Darling Renosterveld Reserve
The Darling Renosterveld Reserve was donated by the local Darling authority and is under the care of the Darling Wildflower Society.
The reserve is open all year round and entrance is free, but if you want to see the landscape transform into a carpet of colourful spring flowers the best time to visit is between July and October.
The reserve also hosts the annual, century-old Darling Wildflower Show. Don’t miss this year’s show on from 18-20 September 2015.
Tienie Versfeld Wild Flower Reserve
This little flower reserve is an absolute gem with generous displays of springtime flowers sprouting from a vast array of veld types.
It’s also a unique remnant of grassland, fynbos and a seasonal wetland within the Swartland, and particularly valued for its bulbous plants.
Situated near the Tienie Versfeld Wild Flower Reserve, the Groenekloof Reserve offers a variety of flowers including Hermannia (lanterns-Poproos), Arctotis (daisies), Drossera (Snotroesie), Chlorophytum and Moraeari tripetala (blue)
Waylands Wildflower Reserve
Waylands Farm, 6km from Darling, has been in the Duckitt family for six generations.
The reserve is open to the public during the flower season and is home to some 300 species with fields of Blue Flaks (Heliophila), Ixia and Arums making themselves visible from the roof.
The Waylands Wildflower Reserve is part of the critically endangered Lowland Fynbos Biome, of which less than 1% remains.
Another one of the flower hotspots clustered around Darling.
The reserve contains a seasonally wet, Swartland Granite Renosterveld area of approximately 10 ha with one of the last populations of a critically endangered orchid species called pteryogodium cruciform.
One of the most visited flower hotspots in the Cape West Coast.
Even though it’s part of the West Coast National Park, the Postberg Flower Reserve is not always open to make sure it’s as undisturbed as possible until spring, when it truly rewards the wait.
Keep an eye out for zebra, wildebeest, antelope, ostrich, mongoose, Rock hyrax, snakes, birds, tortoises and of course, a mindboggling display of flowers.
One of the oldest villages on the West Coast, Paternoster is well known for its warm, generous and hospitable people wonderfully complemented by an array of flowers in spring.
Cape Columbine Nature Reserve
A mere 5 minutes from Paternoster is the Cape Columbine Nature reserve home to an abundance of flora and fauna as well as the last manned lighthouse in South Africa which was built on Castle Rock in 1936.
Cape Columbine lies on a peninsular and covers 263 hectares of gorgeous wild, rocky coastline.
Hopefield Fynbos Show
Surrounded by delicate fynbos and waving green wheat in winter, Hopefield is an historic town on the Cape West Coast.
Every August, the popular Hopefield Fynbos Show depicts the breath taking and diverse flora of the region. To see indigenous flora at ground level, walk the Langrietvlei and Helderwater trails on farms near the town.
Don’t miss this year’s exhilarating Hopefield Fynbos Show from 27 – 30 August.
Part of the Foodie route on the R45
Where: Hopefield Sports Centre, R45
Contact: +27 (0)22 723 1720
Darling Wildflower Show
The Darling Wildflower show takes place annually over the third weekend in September (18th/19th/20th September 2015) and celebrates an integral part of the Cape Fynbos Kingdom comprising of Renosterveld, Sandveld and Strandveld where more than 1200 different species of flowers can be found. The event includes entry to the Landscaped Hall (depicting the flowers of the area in their natural habitat). A Free ride on a tractor drawn wagon to see the Oude Post Pristine wetland (that is not accessible to the public and can only be seen during the show), a Craft/Farmers Market, Veteran Tractor/Car Display, an Entertainment Tent featuring live music, a large Childrens area, safe and secure parking and many other attractions. There will also be numerous Food and Beverage stalls where you can purchase a variety of food and drinks to take away or use the facilities to relax and enjoy the natural environment.