The hills become alive with the bursts of colour! From spreads of the legendary Namaqualand daisies to thousands of other brightly coloured floral species that bloom in every shape and colour; you need to experience this at least once in your lifetime. Pinks are not just pinks, neither are yellows just yellows, a daisy is not simply a daisy; splashes of mauve, magenta, pink and purple; seas of gold, delicate blues and rich greens will fill your senses. The Cape Wild Flowers are one of the best natural wonders of the world and most definitely a bucket list trip. The arid areas of the Cape West Coast and the semi desert of Namaqualand, transform into a floral wonderland that attracts photographers, artists, botanists and sightseers from around the globe.
The wild flowers begin flowering first in the north of Namaqualand in the late July / early August and then roll out southwards, through Nieuwoudtville and the Cederberg towards the West Coast, at the beginning of September. You’ll feel like you’re following the yellow brick road when you explore the Hiking and eco-tails. Enjoy daily drives meandering along the mountain side. Bike or 4×4 routes are also a popular choice. Ensure you go on a sunny day and not too early; you likely won’t see fields in all their colourful splendour when it’s overcast or rainy. The best viewing times would be between 10:00 and 15:00 before and after the maximum heat of the day.
The best way to reach the flowers is form the north and in spring and while the flowers follow the sun – the flowers will always face the sun. This spectacular blooming wonderful phenomenon is of course dependent on the rains, wind and other factors, displays and timing will vary from year to year, so in other words if the desert has experienced a particularly “dry” season the flowers will more than likely not be as dense – we recommend keeping an eye out for the “Rains down in Africa”.
The quaint towns along the Cape Flower Route are all small, so finding your way around is very easy and the locals are really hospitable. West Coast Towns like Paternoster, Yzerfontein and Saldanha, are laid-back and as “easy-breezy” as the flowers. The Cederberg is fascinating and well known for its rock art and mountain beauty, Wuppertal for its interesting history and Citrusdal for the beautiful orange orchards. Darling is also well known as a cultural experience, with the Eva Perron theatre and all the delicious culinary delights. The entire flower area has become well-known for its vineyards and boutique wine cellars, if time allows, the flowers in the north, though further away, around Vanrhynsdorp and Springbok are glorious and well worth the trip.
Spend some of your day learning about the curious pollinators, including butterflies, bees and birds, as well as the many wildlife creatures such as the bat-eared fox, the ever popular steenbok and that spiky dude, the Cape porcupine from some of the very charming little curio shops and impromptu coffee shops you’ll find dotted along the route. Grab a picnic basket or even a designated braai spot where you can, and forgive the pun… “Stop and smell the roses”.