22 August 2014
It’s “flower safari” time as South Africa’s West Coast National Park prepares for its annual influx of visitors, come to see the spectacular spring flower displays that take place every August and September.
“During this time, visitors flock in their numbers to the Postberg section of the park that serves as a highlight to their visit – especially as this section of the park is only open to the public during these two months of the year,” West Coast National Park’s Tarcia Hendricks said in a statement this week.
The park is one-and-a-half hours drive from Cape Town. The park has devised three different “self-drive flower tours”. Route maps for these are available at the park’s entrance.
Flower displays can be seen throughout the entire park, not just the Postberg section. “Fields of brightly coloured flowers create the most spectacular views for a stroll,” Hendricks said. “Spectacular flowers can also be seen at the Seeberg lookout point.”
Namaqua National Park, in the Northern Cape about 500 kilometres from Cape Town, said the later-than-usual rains in the area meant that the flower display would begin a little later than normal. However, excellent and regular rainfall since June would also probably mean the season would last longer than usual.
In a “flower report” issued by by the park last week, visitors were told of spectacular flowers over large areas of the park: “Skilpad is covered in Namaqua daisy carpets. Pietsnot (Grielum homifusum) is also now very prominent, with Varkiesknol (Conicosia) starting to bloom as well. The Cattails are at their best right now.
“The areas between Skilpad and Soebatsfontein and towards Wildeperdehoek pass have large purple ‘vygie’ (mesembryanthemums) carpets, as well as very good white daisy patches. The coastal flowers are very good with the usual variety of vygies and daisies.”
The West Coast Park offers these tips to help you make the most of the flower season:
- Head to the park early in the morning – especially if you’re visiting on a weekend.
- Make use of both the R27 and Langebaan gates but be prepared for a long queue on weekends and public holidays. The park has put extra measures in place to try and alleviate as much congestion at the gates as possible.
- Geelbek Restaurant is the place in the park where food and drinks are sold. Only bookings for tables larger than 10 are accepted during flower season.
- Bring your mountain bike and cycle up to Mooimaak – the views from there rival that of Postberg. No vehicles are permitted.
More information: www.sanparks.org/parks/west_coast or +27 (22) 772-2144/5.