It’s beautiful flower season in the Western Cape, and we’re excited and ready for the annual pilgrimage, in which Capetonians and tourists from all over set out to find the majestic fields of floral and fynbos landscapes. Celebrate spring by taking notes and sneaking a peek at some of these conservation areas, national parks, and events celebrated every year.
Have we missed any of your favourite spots? Please let us know in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
With a quick hour-and-a-half road trip outside Cape Town City Centre, you can find yourself amidst the two towns of Langebaan and Yzerfontein. “What’s the relevance?” you ask. Well, this is the focal point of the West Coast National Park. It’s an area where the cerulean waters of the Langebaan Lagoon and the bright flowers of the surrounding fynbos create a landscape that will leave visitors at a loss for words.
The Park offers walking trails, bird watching areas, picnic, and braai areas, and a safe spot on the Tsaarsbank to enjoy a bit of whale watching in August and September. However, for adventure seekers, there are mountain bike and cycling routes, kayaking and kite-boarding, and an additional hiking trail that is a little more strenuous than the average walking trail.
If for some bizarre reason, your eyes grow weary of the multicoloured flowers, the Langebaan Lagoon supports dense populations of molluscs and crustaceans. It also serves as a nursery for the development of juvenile fish. Therefore, we highly recommend the West Coast National Park as a travel destination.
Where: West Coast DC
When: Sep – Mar: 7am – 7pm | Apr – Aug: 7am – 6pm
Every third weekend in September, the Darling Wildflower Show beckons all lovers of Flora to commune at their one-stop flower viewing event. Held by the Darling Wildflower Society, founded in 1917, the very first Wildflower Show was exhibited in 1980 and has been a successful attraction ever since.
The annual show is based around the Landscaped Wildflower Exhibition. This is essentially a showcase of the natural habitats that occur in the Darling region. These areas are the likes of Renosterveld, Sandveld, Strandveld, and Vlei and Wetland areas. Guests can also get close-up views of the season’s flowering specimens and other interesting plants at the Specimen Tables.
At this extravagant flower show, you can expect to see various activities and attractions along with their colourful outside market. Enjoy some of the stalls and foods whilst chatting to knowledgeable people about all sorts of plants and their flowers. The annual orchid fair takes place at Duckitt Nurseries, while the Darling Arts exhibition, takes place at Marmalade Cat.
See the event page for more information and the location specific to the year’s event.
Where: Jakaranda St, Darling
When: Every third weekend of September
Acclaimed as one of the best botanical gardens in the world, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden creeps up against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.
It’s hard to believe that these majestic gardens we stroll through today used to be neglected and overgrown farm housing a ruined homestead, hordes of pigs, thickets of weeds, and extensive plantations of alien plants in 1913.
Currently, The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is open to the public where friends, families, and lovers enjoy picnics and walks. The facilities are also used for weddings and live events with a marquee lawn and a restaurant on the premises.
With an abundance of flowers and trees, one can be assured that the Spring season easily keeps visitors entertained for hours as they stare at the overwhelming amounts of plants and greenery. If you’d like to be guided through the gardens, there is a free tour that starts at Gate 1 on Mondays to Fridays at 10 am. We recommend you bring a book and a blanket to make a day of it.
Where: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town
When: Daily: 8am – 7pm
What started as a sweet notion of sharing botanical knowledge with friends, blossomed into a successful event that has now been running since the year 2000.
Elgin Open Gardens is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a collection of beautiful and lavish green gardens opened to the public during the annual spring flowerings. These nine gardens in the Elgin district then grant a portion of the money raised to local charities of their choice.
The nine gardens partaking in the event are Freshwoods, Stone Kitchen, Lavenham, Keurbos and Sonop, Auldearn, Houw Hoek Outspan, Wildekrans Country House, and of course the Elgin Vintners Country House.
If you would like to take a little piece of nature home with you, there are plants for sale as at the Keurbos and Fresh Woods gardens.
Where: throughout Elgin
When: End Oct / early Nov annually
Renowned for its waterfalls and amber pools, Harold Porter is a flora-rich National Botanical Garden surrounded by mountain slopes, gorges with forests, flatlands and marshes, and dunes adjacent to the beach.
The Harold Porter Gardens has a rich ecosystem and a variety of flowers. It houses the South African national flower, the king protea, and other fynbos families like ericas and restios. It also flaunts variations of irises, daisies, and orchids. However, it’s not only the flora that makes the gardens as lush and bountiful as they are. In addition, there are many different types of critters, large and small, each playing a role in the ecology.
Enjoy the captivating scenic views along the drive from Cape Town as you make your way through all the coastal towns and forests around the mountains.
Where: Cnr Clarence Drive & Broadwith Rd, Betty’s Bay
When: Mon – Fri: 8am – 4.30pm | Sat – Sun: 8am – 5pm
Fernkloof Nature Reserve is 1800ha of natural splendour. As part of the Kleinrivier Mountains above Hermanus, it is a landscape filled with visual enticements in every direction. From mountains to greenery and river to the sea, Fernkloof Nature Reserve with its fynbos is the place to be. But it is with special thanks to the Hermanus Botanical Society and their Hermanus Flower Festival that visitors from all over can gather annually to see the flowers in groups of like-minded people.
Previously known as the Horticultural Society, Hermanus Botanical Society changed its name in 1960 and established the wondrous Hermanus Herbarium in 1983. Offering members organised walks on graded paths, the Hermanus Botanical Society is an essential element to enjoying the Fernkloof Nature Reserve area. The society also holds monthly talks regarding botany, day walks and excursions to coastal and mountain viewing spots, and of course access to the herbarium.
Follow their Facebook page for more information on the dates and times of the event.
Where: Fir Ave, Fernkloof Dr, Hermanus
When: Daily: 9am – 1pm
In the quaint town of Hopefield, the annual Fynbos Show is one of the biggest events in the town. Focused on the significance of conserving Fynbos biodiversity, the town flaunts a beautiful Fynbos Park and Private Nature Reserve. Because Hopefield Fynbosskou’s flower display and herbarium are rated as one of the best in the country, we thought it only obvious to add to our points of interest.
The very first fynbos flower show in South Africa was held here in Hopefield back in 1989 and was organized by Fiona Kotzé. Since then, the show has become a really big community-driven concept and is made possible due to the town’s volunteers and their collections of plants. Now, doesn’t that sound like the sweet sort of town you’d love to support?
Now, doesn’t that sound like the sweet sort of town you’d love to support? Oh wait, we forgot to mention the Hopefield world-renowned fynbos honey. One of the small town’s biggest providers of job opportunities to the locals. Gazing at lovely flowers whilst enjoying raw honey sounds like the bee’s knees to us.
Where: Koperfontein Rd, Hopefield
When: Last week of August annually
Concerning gardens, the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden is truly unique and situated in the beautiful town of Worcester. The gardens display an array of arid and semi-arid plants.
Situated at the foot of the Hex River Mountain range, the 154 hectares of plant-based beauty is only 120km away from Cape Town’s city centre. The majority of the Karoo Desert contains natural vegetation, whereas the cultivated section is merely 11 hectares. This is because the conservation of the natural environment is vitally important.
With three hiking trails to choose from, the Shale trail, the Grysbokkie trail, and the Heuweltjie trail, people can easily make their way to get a close-up view of all the flowers in bloom. Be sure to see the “vygies” (mesembs) during the flower season.
According to their website, the garden houses a large succulent collection, but visitors need to pre-arrange a guided tour if they wish to see it.
Where: Roux Rd, Panorama, Worcester
When: Daily 7am – 6pm
During the months of spring, this town has been marked as an ocean of colour due to all the variations of flowers, fruits, vineyards, and plantations. Because of their floral rich environment, every year the town folk of Clanwilliam put together the Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show.
The flower committee has devised a genius project to replant the natural flora on previously disturbed and ruined land. The rehabilitation of these lands is the community’s way of giving back to the world and ensuring that future generations will have a chance to appreciate the gifts of nature and fight against climate change.
Because the surrounding areas are so vast, it would take forever to see all the flowers that Clanwilliam and the Cederberg have to offer. That’s why the Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show is a collection of all the local wildflower species on display for all visitors to see in the Blommekerk.
Click here to browse through their website for more information on the town and the Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show.
Where: 41 Hoofstraat, Clanwilliam
When: End of August to early September | Every Day 8.30 am – 5.30pm
What’s prettier than a famous view of Table Mountain? A famous view of Table Mountain with floral surroundings. Blouberg has always been known for its iconic view of Table Mountain, but few people know of its little treasured nature reserve.
The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve sits on Blouberg Hill and stretches out down to the soft sandy coastline. With a beautiful view of the World Heritage Site, Robben Island, Blaauwberg Nature Reserve offers beauty and nature as far as the eyes can see.
If you feel like spending an evening on the premises, the reserve has a Montispectus self-catering unit. The unit is generally hired out for families or friends on a weekend getaway.
Where: Eerste Steen Resort, Otto du Plessis Dr, Bloubergstrand
When: May – Oct: 8am – 5pm | Nov – Apr: 8am – 7pm