We have seen wildflowers in other parts of the world, but nothing prepared us for the magic of springtime in South Africa. Flowers of all shapes and sizes spread out before my feet, carpeting the landscape in every colour of the rainbow. We followed a flower route from Springbok down to the Western Cape and spotted wildlife amongst the spring blossoms.
Going on a flower safari is all about connecting to the beauty of nature and appreciating the small things. Flowers bring joy into my life in so many ways and to see such an abundance of blooms in one place at one time was almost unimaginable. We took our time in each place we visited to sit amongst the daisies and wonder at what nature can create.
The dusty plains and valleys of Namaqua National Park come to life when the desert bursts into bloom. Daisies, aloes, lilies and too many other flowers to count cover the Northern Cape, filled with butterflies and birds collecting the sweet nectar. We could hardly believe the sea of daisies in the Skilpad Wildflower Reserve that follow the sun across the sky.
Icy Atlantic waves crash against one side of the West Coast National Park, while on the other lies the calm waters of Langebaan Lagoon. In the Postberg Flower Reserve, only open during flower season in August and September, we took in the beachside blooms. Along the walking trails there were eland, red hartebeest and Cape grysbok grazing peacefully on the grass.
The flowering fynbos at De Hoop Nature Reserve, part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, bring colour to the dry coastal scrub. We rode through the ericas, proteas and restios on bicycles, pulling up to watch Cape mountain zebra and ostriches. Southern right whales breached in the secluded bays where we sat with our bikes resting on the sandy dunes.
Although flowers seem to be everywhere at this time of year we restrained ourselves from picking any in the parks and reserves. As much as I wanted to gather up armloads of blossoms, I knew the flowers were placed there by nature and left the blooms untouched. Each one is unique and not to be picked so they can continue to put their beauty on display.
We have never seen such a wildflower show as on our flower safari along the west coast of South Africa. The buds turn into blossoms from July until late October, with different displays each year depending on the winter rains. Not only are the spring flowers a sight to behold, but the wild animals on the flowering plains make this a safari with added colour.
When I look back on the days we spent driving, hiking and biking there’s one thing that comes to mind. I’ve always felt a deep sense of connection to flowers and seek them out, bringing to my heart a sense of beauty in simplicity. Spending a moment looking into a flower reminds me to live a simpler life closer to nature and to appreciate all of the small wonders around us.
Words: Kate Westberg
Pictures: Marcus Westberg
For more information about the spring flower season in South Africa go to: www.sanparks.org