And, luckily for me, enough of my friends are able to do the same (with a little planning), that it becomes something of an adventure (not to mention being a more eco- and pocket-friendly trip).
Well, I’ve been champing at the bit to find me some fields of flowers in which to loll about (and take photos), and I thought a visit to the Postberg Nature Reserve might just satisfy both cravings…
So, early yesterday morning, three of us got up ridiculously early and, travel mugs of strong coffee clamped firmly in hand, made our bleary way out of the city and along the West Coast road, towards the West Coast National Park.
The roads were quiet, and the conversation muted (until the caffeine kicked in, anyway) and as we drove the sun came up and bathed the normally not-so-very-exciting scenery (not the prettiest of roads, the R27, nuh-uh) in glorious golden light.
About an hour later, we turned off the main drag, and into the clearly-signed West Coast National Park. We paid our entry fee (R30 for locals – R60 for tourists), took note of the ‘beware of the bees’ sign (!) and meandered into the park.
It was too early for most of the flowers at that stage, so we decided to have breakfast by the seaside until the sun had warmed the place up a bit (and woken up the sleeping beauties).
The Postberg Nature Reserve is technically separate from the West Coast National Park, and is only open to the public for the two months of the year that make up our spring flower season: August and September.
Your entry fee also gains you access to Postberg (the part most renowned for its flower displays), but it only opens at 9am (two hours later than the main gate), so if you go too early, you’ll have to wait a while before you can venture inside (and I suspect they regulate how many cars can go in there at one time).
There were definitely not as many flowers as I encountered last time I visited the park. No vast swathes of unbelievable colour, just small patches of pretty white and orange daisies, and a few other varieties in between.
Which is not to say it wasn’t beautiful. There’s plenty to see besides flowers, with all sorts of wildlife about, including wildebeest, Cape Mountain Zebra, springboks and ostriches. And the views of the Langebaan Lagoon from the top of ‘Uitkyk’ (a viewing point in the park) were breathtaking.
But, it was a little disappointing (in comparison with my previous experience). So, if you’re planning to go and see the wildflowers, and don’t want to drive further north than Postberg (the ones further north always seem to come out sooner than those closer to home), you’d do well to wait another two weeks before you do so.
Apparently, (I quizzed the lady at the Geelbek information kiosk) the best is yet to come, and it’s worth waiting until early September to see the flowers at their spectacular peak.
It was a lovely, restful day out, but didn’t quite satisfy the flower-field-lolling craving. So, I guess I’m just going to have to go again! I was so blown away by the display I saw there two years ago, that I think it will be worth it (I predict more champing in my future).
Happily, though, seeing as I’m off to the Biedouw Valley (near Clanwilliam) this weekend, I might just get my flower fix before then (fingers crossed).
The Postberg Nature Reserve is part of the West Coast National Park, about 90km from Cape Town on the Cape West Coast. For more information on how to get there, check out my new Cape Wildflower Season guide.