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​Where to see West Coast wildflowers this spring

SEP 9, 2021 | Written by Zoë Chapman Poulsen, Photos by Zoë Chapman Poulsen and Rupert Koopman.

 

 

Spring in the Cape is in full swing and the flowers are in full bloom. Now is the perfect time to take a drive to visit the West Coast and its spectacular spring flowers.

But where are some of the best places to go and enjoy the wildflowers? We asked Hedwig Slabig, Chair of the Botanical Society of South Africa’s West Coast branch for her recommendations.

 

Above: Bokbaaivygies (Cleretum bellidiforme) and other wildflowers. Photo: LoveGreen Communications. 

 

Cape Columbine Nature Reserve

Located just outside the historic West Coast fishing village of Paternoster, Cape Columbine Nature Reserve has the historic Castle Rock lighthouse at its heart. Built in 1936, it was the last manually controlled lighthouse to be built in South Africa.

Covering an area of 263 ha, this spectacular coastal reserve offers a range of beautiful hiking trails among the spring flowers in the strandveld.

Beautiful white rain daisies bloom in profusion. Take a walk down to the sea and along the coastline and enjoy the bokbaaivygies (Cleretum bellidiforme) in flower among the rocks as well as many other botanical gems. From a distance the vegetation might look quite uniform but the Saldanha limestone and granite Strandveld each have their unique floral charms if you look closely.

There is a small entrance fee of R29.00 per person to enter the reserve. Camping is also available with tariffs and booking information available on the Saldanha Bay Municipality website.

 

Top: Geissorhiza lewisiae (Vulnerable). Bottom: Cleretum bellidiforme and Felicia tenella. Photos by Rupert Koopman.

 

Jacobsbaai WWF South Africa Reserve

This spring the Jacobsbaai WWF Reserve will be holding their spring splendour event in association with the Rotary Club of Langebaan, welcoming visitors to enjoy the spring flowers on the property until 26 September.

This stunning reserve is home to more than 80 different plant species growing on a series of limestone ridges, that can be explored via different hiking trails.

The reserve is located on Oranjevlei farm that was sold to WWF South Africa in 2011 due to the numerous rare and threatened species (some undescribed) found there by local botanical experts Koos (now late) and Elise Claassens. The Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) have also compiled a detailed species list.

Entrance to the reserve is R50/pp. Designated braai areas are also available for those who want to picnic, but bring your own chairs, table, umbrella, water, picnic and comfortable shoes to enjoy the wildflowers.

 

Above: Darling Renosterveld Reserve. Photo: Zoë Chapman Poulsen.

 

Darling Renosterveld Reserve

The Swartland town of Darling has long been famous for its beautiful spring wildflower displays in its local nature reserves.

Located opposite the school, the Darling Renosterveld Reserve is one of a few large remnants of critically endangered Swartland Granite Renosterveld. The reserve is 20 ha in size and offers beautiful views over the town of Darling and the Swartland beyond.

This open access reserve is particularly worthwhile in spring for its beautiful renosterveld bulbs, including peacock flowers (Pauridia), kelkiewyn (Babiana rubrocyanea), little turkey (Gladiolus alatus), aandblom (Hesperantha spp.) and many others.

 

Above: Waylands Wildflower Reserve, Geissorhiza eurystigma. Photos by Rupert Koopman.

 

Waylands Wildflower Reserve

Located on the R307 just outside Darling, the Waylands Wildflower Reserve has been in the Duckett family for six generations. The reserve is open to the public during the wildflower season and is home to more than 300 plant species.

It is particularly worthwhile to visit for its spectacular carpets of wine cups in flower (Geissorhiza radians) as well as satin flowers (Geissorhiza monanthos), Sparaxis, Romulea and much more.

 

Contreberg Farm Wildflower Reserve

If you continue along the R307 from Waylands towards Mamre, you will arrive at the Contreberg Farm Wildflower Reserve.

Contreberg Farm is home to a seasonal wetland located on Swartland Granite Renosterveld, with many highly threatened species. In addition, there is a five hectare wildflower reserve that is open to the public.

Visitors to the wildflower reserve can look forward to seeing many beautiful renosterveld bulbs in bloom including Romulea, Monsonia speciosa, Ixia, Moraea and many others.

 

Above: Hopefield sand fynbos, Leucospermum rodolentum. Photo by Rupert Koopman.

 

Hopefield

Many know the West Coast town of Hopefield for its heritage and historical architecture, but it is also a worthwhile town to visit for its stunning spring blooms this wildflower season.

Join Jacques for his popular series of spring flower walks from the centre of Hopefield to the Klipgat historic quarry to see a variety of beautiful wildflowers in bloom.

These easy walks take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11am and 3pm, leaving from in front of the Commercial Hotel on the main road. The walks are R50/person to join.

Please book ahead with Jacques on 072 703 3156. Participants are limited to six people per walk in line with Covid protocols.

Our Reference Picks

West Coast: South African Wildflower Guide 7

Manning, J. Goldblatt, P. (2007) West Coast: South African Wildflower Guide 7, Botanical Society of South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa.

Available from the Kirstenbosch Bookshop.

 

Location: West coast, Western Cape, South Africa

West Coast Branch  

The West Coast branch was founded in the early 2000s by a group of locals who are passionate about the conservation of our natural heritage. 

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE AND JOIN THIS BRANCH 

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