Short in life, but big in beauty, a flower is a wondrous thing. So come August, roving through fields of flowers should be number one on the agenda.
Lucky us! We needn’t wander far to enjoy the West Coast flower extravaganza. Buckle up and eat up the miles on an irresistible headlong dash down a spring route astir with kaleidoscopic new life.
Blaauwberg Nature Reserve
Replete with birdsong among the more than 600 flower species, Blaauwberg Nature Reserve is a rewarding first stop. Meeting the eye are radiant scenes of blossoming brown salvia (Salvia africana-lutea); slangbessie (Lycium ferocissimum); twinleaf (Indigofera); skilpadbessie (Muraltia Spinosa); desert primrose (Grielum grandiflorum); blombos (Metalasia muricata); leeubekkies (Nemesia affinis); and drumsticks (Felicia tenella). But take your time. Many more enchanting species abound.
Where: Cape Farms, north of Bloubergstrand, on the R27 & Otto Du Plessis Drive; ph 021 5540957.
Contreberg Farm Wildflower Reserve
Hit the R307 to Mamre where you’ll find the 5-ha Contreberg Farm Wildflower Reserve on the outskirts. This seasonal wetland is located on Swartland Granite Renosterveld – home to many highly threatened species. Soak up the head-turning views of Renosterveld bulbs in bloom, including Romulea; Monsonia speciose; M. spinosa; Ixia; and Cape tulips (Moraea). But surely the climax would be glimpsing one of the last populations of the critically endangered Pteryogodium cruciform orchid species.
Where: R307 en-route to Mamre, ph 022 4923361.
Waylands Wildflower Reserve
Flashing outlandishly, more than 300 wildflower species inject magic in this critically endangered Lowland Fynbos Biome. Stars of the show are the endemic Geissorhiza darlingensis, G. Radians, Heliophila, Ixia and arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica).
Where: Off the R307 between Mamre & Darling; ph 022 4923361.
To steer clear of the madding crowds, Groenekloof Reserve on the R315 near Darling is a good pick. Daisies (Arctotis); doll’s rose (Hermannia); snotrosie (Drossera); and Moraeari tripetala pop in fields of pure joy.
Where: R315 alongside Darling’s SPCA, ph 022 4923361.
Tienie Versfeld Reserve
Before returning to the R27, pull up at Tienie Versfeld Reserve to meet and greet around 10% of the Cape Floral Kingdom: sambreeltjies (Monsonia speciosa); the satiny Geissorhiza monanthos; Lachenalia; chincherinchee (Ornithogalum thyrsoides); and chandelier lilies (Brunsvigia bosmaniae and B. orientalis) among others. You’ll be in good company too because birds and the speckled Cape tortoise (Homopus aerolatus) also take a shine to this spot.
Where: R315 between Darling & Yzerfontein, ph 022 4923361.
Now for the big one: Postberg. Only open from August to end-September every year, it’s white-hot. Meaning: prepare for throngs.
As can be expected, the flowers up the ante with a display bar none. Wildlife usually join the party, which means you might see zebra, wildebeest, antelope, ostrich, mongoose, rock hyrax, birds and tortoises. But snakes also shoulder their way into the festivities, so watch out.
Out in their party dresses are hongerblom (Senecio arenarius); the reserve’s lonesome blue flower – sporrie (Heliophila coronopifolia); suurvy (Carpobrotus edulis); elandsvy (Carpobrotus acinaciformis); gousblom (Arctotis hirsuta); Bokbaai vygie (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis); white rain daisy (Dimorphotheca pluvialis); Magriet (Ursinia anthemoides); and soetuintjie (Moraea fugax).
Where: R27 before Langebaan, ph 022 7722144
Beautiful, fierce and free, wildflowers bring colour to your world. So, seize the moment and go flower-tripping.
Photo: Elsa Hanekom