Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Cape's very own Floral Kingdom

If you haven't already subscribed to House and Leisure's stunning weekly magazine, we highly recommend you do. It's beautifully styled and well-written, a delight at the end of a busy week. We particularly enjoyed this post, about the breathtaking carpets of flowers that take over the Cape every Spring.

Every year the West Coast gets transformed from barren, wind-blown soils to floral tapestries of colour. This blossoming region is an integral part of the Cape Fynbos Kingdom and boasts more than 1,200 species of flowering plants. Darling accounts for more than 10% of the Cape Floral Kingdom in less than 1% of the area.
This quaint little town screened by golden wheat fields and vineyards can be pin-pointed within the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve. It stages a multitude of different vegetation varieties, a cross-breeding indigenous only to this area. As a result, the veld in Darling produces flowers, especially Geophytes (bulbous plants) which are remarkable in colour, diversity and size.
The flowering season usually lasts August through to October, but due to the cold weather fluctuations this year, their pageant has been slightly setback. Remember to view them on a sunny day as some species won’t open if it is over cast, and travel with the sun on your rear as they open their faces towards the light. The best time for viewing is 11am to 3pm daily.
For more information see or

Where to see flowers around Darling:

  • Darling Renosterveld Reserve (At top of village behind the Darling Primary School)
  • Darling Groenekloof Reserve (R315 alongside the SPCA premises)
  • Tienie Versfeld Reserve (R315 Darling – Yzerfontein)
  • Contreberg (along R307 to Mamre)
At all the above reserves visitors need to park their cars and walk in the veld.
  • Duckitt Nurseries Wildflower Reserve – farm road through reserve (R307 Darling – Mamre – in front of Duckitt Nursery)
  • Waylands – farm road through reserve (R307 to Mamre)
Visitors must please take care not to drive off the road in the Waylands and Duckitt Nurseries reserves as the veld is very wet and they may get stuck. No buses.
  • Postberg in the West Coast National Park (022-772-2144)

Guided Flower Walks/Drives

  • Wildflower Meander
  • Flora Group walks take place in the Reserves in and around Darling/Yzerfontein as follows:
Darling: the last Thursday of each month with Helene Preston (082-222-8135) .
Yzerfontein: the first Wednesday of each month with Libbes Loubser (022-451-2504).
They explore the reserves for whatever is flowering that day, also to find anything new, and to discuss anything botanical as we go along. These are gente walks, so anyone can come along.
  • Wildflower game drives at Burgherspost Nature Reserve – Leaving 9:30 every morning except Sundays and depending on the weather (min. 2 people) from Cloof Cellar. Please book two days in advance. Contact Jacques vd Merwe, Conservation Manager, on 022-492-2830.e-mail
  • Groote Post farm (also forms part of the famous West Coast Spring Flower Route) – In addition to its excellent wines, this estate offers much to delight, including nature walks, picnics and the award-winning restaurant, Hilda’s Kitchen. For more information on the nature walks please contact Peter Pentz junior, via email on or phone 022-492-2822.

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