Every year, between the months of August and October, almost every flower on the Cape’s west coast bursts into spectacular spring bloom and thousands of Capetonians (and tourists) head out to Darling, Langebaan and other west coast towns.
I find it hard to believe that it has taken me almost two decades to go and see the flowers. I’ve lived in Cape Town since 1988 (formerly from up north, shhhh!), and not once have I made the trip out to the flowers. Sies!
Anyway, this year, perhaps to make up for lost time, I’ve managed to visit the flowers twice (so far). And they have been spectacular in both instances.
The first time was in August, when I drove all the way up to Namaqualand in the Northern Cape (over 500 kms from Cape Town).
It’s an easy drive. All you have to do is get yourself on Route 27, out of Cape Town, and head towards Langebaan. About an hour out you’ll see a gate on your left which is the main entrance of the West Coast National Park.
If there’s a queue (and there was a long one when we passed by at around midday), dodge it by heading on towards Langebaan and finding your way to the back gate (you may need some directions from a local).
The added advantage of going the back route is that the flowers are facing you for most of the drive into the park.
2012 update: West Coast National Park is open daily from 07:00 to 18:00 (last vehicle entry at 17:30) and the Postberg section is open from 09:00 to 17:00 (last vehicle entry at 16:30). Entry fees are R44 for South Africans; R64 for SADC visitors and R88 for international visitors. Children up to the age of 12 pay half price.
There are fields of flowers all the way along the edge of the Langebaan lagoon, especially as you get to the Postberg Reserve section. They check your tickets at the gate into Postberg, so keep your slip handy.
Postberg is phenomenally beautiful, with swathes of flowers everywhere you look and strange rock formations that look a bit like a west-coast version of Stonehenge. I was startled to look up and see zebra and wildebeest, too. I had no idea there was game there!
We drove up to ‘Uitkyk’, a rocky outcrop with spectacular views over Langebaan lagoon and Saldanha Bay and back over the reserve to the Atlantic Ocean. It’s an awesome picnic spot and, to my surprise, wasn’t very crowded.
Postberg is only open in August and September, so if you haven’t already been, pick a sunny day and head out that way. It is most definitely worth it.