It’s springtime in South Africa and the Western Cape is blooming marvelous. On a recent trip we took out to the Postberg Section of the West Coast National Park, SANParks representatives stated that the flowers were the best they had seen in eight years!
And when one of My School My Village My Planet’s partners, The Botanical Society of South Africa, headed up to the Tienie Versfeld Nature Reserve to see the flowers and to marvel at the Darling Flower Show, members just couldn’t get enough.
Our Content Traffic Manager, Georgina Lockwood, can attest to the excitement of the experience:
My experience of the daisies, up until now, had been limited to macro-photography, but what the pictures don’t illustrate is just how tiny these flowers actually are – most of them being hardly bigger than milk teeth. But what they lack in size, they make up for in numbers, peppering the horizon in colours that would rival Joseph’s multi-coloured dreamcoat.
Every September since 1917 the Darling Wildflower Society attempts to tame the wildflowers, sculpting them into elaborate displays and vases to showcase the west coast’s diverse flora at the Darling Wildflower Show. The show aims to create awareness about these delicate beings in an attempt to protect the flowers from plodding tourists and the farmer’s plough.
The Darling area has a variety of veld types that gives rise to a diverse array of wildflowers, with 80 species being endemic to the area. Much like fire to fynbos, the fate of each wildflower species depends on the annual rainfall, the soil quality and the wind factor. Come spring you never know what you are going to find.
While all the gardeners sniff out the pollen, their families can also be kept entertained with delicious food, live entertainment, tractor rides, and craft, clothing and bric-a-brac stalls.
My footprints felt ecologically heavier as I walked through Waylands, one of the oldest family farms in the area, and I became increasingly aware of just how delicate these daises are. One had to tiptoe around just to get a good photograph without squishing a little bud. We treaded lightly, and, oh Darling, the flowers were magnificent!
The other flower mecca, the Postberg section of the West Coast National Park, is only open to the public from August to September and, while the spring flowers have set the bar quite high for other attractions in the area, there are still plenty of activities that make a trip up the R27 worthwhile.
So whether you’re looking for something to keep your spirits high once you’ve finished gazing at the daisies, or if you missed them this year but still want to explore the area out of flower season, you’ll never be short of wonderful things to see and do just hours from Cape Town, up South Africa’s wild West Coast. Just click on the NEXT tab above to find out more.