South Africa’s spring flowers spectacle

posted 31st October 2019 by Danica Wilson in Destinations

A carpet of colour…

South Africa is home to the Cape Floral Kingdom, which has the highest known concentration of plant species in the world, with 9,600 of these grown nowhere else on earth. Regions of the Western and the Northern Cape are famous for their beautiful bloom of flowers which cover the terrain in a carpet of colour at the start of our Spring season.

Spring flower season in the Cape Region usually runs from the beginning of August until the end of September although the window of opportunity is usually small and is dependent on rainfall.

It’s best to book a year in advance as accommodation fills up quickly as ‘Flower Season’ is often the busiest period of the year.

We love creating self drive itineraries so you can explore the region at your preferred pace.  It is important to note that there aren’t local guides in each area for you to pre-book tours – the season is far too short to be sustainable for this.

Most of the accommodation is in owner run small, mid-range guesthouses so it’s not crazy . expensive.

If you are short of time, a 2-night stay in the Paternoster or Langebaan area to view the wild flowers in the West Coast National Park is possible as they open an area of the park (Postberg) for the season only.

South Africa’s spring flowers spectacle travel tips

  1. The best time to view the flowers is usually from mid-August to mid-September – as with any wildlife activities and attractions the Flower Season is weather dependent, and the abundance of the wild flowers can’t be guaranteed.
  2. It’s best to book a year in advance should you wish to travel during August and September.
  3. The flowers are at their best on a sunny day, so we would suggest that, if time allows, you view the flowers between 10h30 and 15h00 although it’s not a bad idea to arrive at the National Parks early to avoid potential queues.
  4. Flowers are delicate – this means you need to walk with care and be careful not to step on or touch any buds, bulbs or specimens.
  5. Respect the environment you’re in and steer clear of sensitive dune areas.
  6. Once you’re out of the car and viewing the flowers on foot, always stand with the sun behind you as some flowers do not open up when it is shady/overcast.
  7. The best recommended time for taking photographs of the flowers is in the early morning or just after 15h00. Remember to take photographs on sunny days.
  8. The use of drones inside (and over) national parks is strictly prohibited.
  9. Check if plant and animal species lists are available at the receptions of the National Parks and bring along your birding books, plant and animal field guides as well as binoculars.
  10. Pack insect repellent and sun screen!


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south africa's spring flower spectacle


Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (Cape Town)

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. The Spring months of September and October are the most colourful time of the year at Kirstenbosch, although spring has an early start in the Cape and many species start flowering in August. The weather, although changeable with rain still likely, is mostly warm and sunny. The Namaqualand daisies and vygies carpet large areas of the Garden and the spring bulbs and many fynbos plants are in flower at this time of the year.

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Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens (Betty’s Bay near Hermanus)

This lovely garden is situated in the centre of the coastal fynbos where the flora is at its richest. It encompasses mountain slopes with wind-clipped heathlands, deep gorges with relict forests, flats and marshes with restios, sedges and bulbs, as well as dunes adjacent to the beach with specialised salt-adapted plants. The Garden is renowned for its waterfalls and amber pools. Much of the richly diverse flora are flowering between September and October, including proteas and ericas for which the Cape is renowned, as well as a host of other lesser known species (many of which are in the daisy family).

Visit the gardens


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South Africa's spring flowers spectacle


Bontebok National Park (near Swellendam)

The Cape Floral Kingdom is world-renowned as one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth; the Bontebok National Park is a jewel in its crown. Explore during spring and experience some of the most astonishingly beautiful flower formations in the world.

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West Coast National Park (near Paternoster)

Every year, the West Coast National Park bursts into colour, as its incredible wildflowers blanket entire landscapes. Official flower season is from 1 August until 30 September, when the protected area of Postberg within the Park is open to the public.

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Hantam National Botanical Garden (Nieuwoudtville)

This unique and different garden comprises a vast area of over 6000 ha which includes representative patches of Nieuwoudtville Shale Renosterveld, Nieuwoudtville-Roggeveld Dolorite Renosterveld and Hantam Succulent Karoo. The greatest displays of wild flowers occur from August to mid-October, covering areas of the garden with a kaleidoscope of colours.

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Nieuwoudtville Flower Reserve (Nieuwoudtville)

The Nieuwoudtville Flower Reserve is 3km east of the town of Nieuwoudtville. The Flower Reserve has a wide variety of bulbs and a short hiking trail between the rock koppies which hide even more varieties of bulbs.

Papkuilsfontein Guest Farm (Near Nieuwoudtville)

The biggest surprise of the farm is the 180m canyon and waterfall – which you can explore on your own through a series of hiking trails, enjoying a cooling dip in the rock pool at the base of the falls. You can also join a farm tour during which Willem, the owner of the farm, will take you on a 2.5-hour 4×4 trip to explore the canyon, rock art, birds, veld and farm as well as the flowers in season.

Tankwa Karoo National Park (Near Calvinia)

The Tankwa Karoo National Park is about four hours from Cape Town, somewhere in that open space on your map between Ceres, Calvinia and Sutherland and protects a stark but beautiful swathe of countryside. The Succulent Karoo is the only arid region in the world to be recognised as a biodiversity hotspot. The park is an explosion of colour in August and September, which is probably the best time to visit.

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Namaqua National Park (Near Springbok)

Fields of flowers, star studded nights, quiver trees, enormous granite outcrops and the icy Atlantic are but a few wonders that await the visitor. Part of the semi-desert Succulent Karoo biome, Namaqualand is home to the richest bulb flora of any arid region in the world and more than 1 000 of its estimated 3 500 plant species are found nowhere else on earth. During early August and September, seemingly overnight, the dusty valleys of Namaqualand are transformed in to a wonderland, carpeted with wildflowers that draw visitors from near and far.

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