Floral tour de force (Day 2 & 3)

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    A journey of pure joy!

    Embarking on the next stage, a 140-km round trip to the Biedouw Valley and Wupperthal will prove rewarding in every sense. The route is on the R364 over the Pakhuis Pass, where you’ll turn right onto the Biedouw Valley/Wupperthal road. The flowers are remarkable. If lucky, you’ll spot Leucospermum reflexum, the Snow protea (Protea cryophylla), blue Lachanaea filamentosa, yellow sparaxis, pink Cyanella alba and the Clanwilliam Cedar.

    Do stop awhile in Wupperthal. Despite the village having been decimated by fire in January this year, its engaging inhabitants are worth meeting. In this time-capsule wilderness your lunch picnic of roosterkoek and rooibos tea will go down a treat.

    4. Citrusdal – private reserves

    After a flower-filled day, return to Clanwilliam and take off to Citrusdal (63 km) along the N7 where you can overnight at The Old Village (022 9213963), first road right when you take the Citrusdal turn-off. Choose between five charming cottages. Sonia Hager’s dinner (fingers crossed it’s one of her stews) will leave you begging for more and the same applies to her drop-dead breakfast pizza before starting the next stage of your journey.

    Floral expectations on various farms in the Citrusdal area include fields of maartblom, bloedblom, daises and fynbos. Time permitting, an extra fun adventure is Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort’s Zip-line (022 9213574) which has seven platforms ranging from 3 – 30 m for flying!

    5. Paternoster – Cape Columbine Reserve

    When done, aim for Piketberg along the N7, choosing the R399 to Paternoster (147 km). On arrival, just about time for a quick fish and chips at Voorstrandt (022 7522038), Strandloper Street – a historic 114-year-old tin fisherman’s cottage overlooking the beach. All seafood dishes are highly recommended. If you have the energy, a stroll along Mosselbank beach will aid digestion.

    Once in Cape Columbine Reserve on the outskirts of Paternoster, beautiful views of spring flowers, an array of fynbos and Karoo succulents will greet you against the great Atlantic Ocean backdrop. Spend a pleasurable hour or two meandering around and you might just be lucky in spotting whales and/or dolphins as well.

    6. Langebaan – Postberg Nature Reserve

    Best bet now is to head to Langebaan along the R399 (39 km) where accommodation awaits at The Farmhouse Hotel (022 7722062). Rates range from R800 pn.

    After breakfast, depart for Postberg Nature Reserve. Only open during August and September, this reserve has an almost undisturbed floral landscape of suurvy (Carpobrotus edulis); Elandsvy (Carpobrotus acinaciformis); Gousblom (Arctotis hirsuta); Bokbaai vygie (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis); white rain daisy (Dimorphotheca pluvialis); sporrie (Heliophila coronopifolia); Magriet (Ursinia anthemoides); and soetuintjie (Moraea fugax). The reserve is also home to zebra, buck, snakes and tortoises. You may drive, cycle or walk.

    7. Darling – Renosterveld & Tienie Versfeld Reserves

    There’s still time for two final floral destinations 52 km away. Returning to the R27, turn left at the R315 intersection. About 7 km further, the Tienie Versfeld Reserve is on the right. Due to its varying topography the reserve hosts a wide floral diversity – said to be around 10% of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Flora include butterfly lilies, lachenalia, chincherinchee and bulbs. Great for bird watching too.

    Stop at JP and Carien de Beer’s cheery Chicory Cheese Café (076 9756197), 5 Lang St, for a much-needed artisan midday meal. Try the jalapeno chicken burger, spinach pancakes, Vietnamese rice paper springrolls or almost caveman salad. Round this off with a fudgy peanut smoothie and beetroot chocolate cake.

    The next stop is within sniffing distance. Just above Darling Primary School lies the 20-hectare Renosterveld Flower Reserve. It offers not only a plethora of flora (renosterbos, bellendini, kapokbos and vygies), but also cute red-bellied tortoises.

    Alas, time to head home. After a kaleidoscopic three days, think of this when your head hits the pillow: “Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”