In the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, with travel restricted, the wildflower season promises to be the best in years.
So say the old folks who have noted the rainfall patterns and read nature’s imperceptible signs. Flowers will be abundant – and longer lasting, probably well into September.
Let’s take a look: northwards from Cape Town, in the West Coast National Park and through Namaqualand with its Namaqua National Park up to the town of Springbok. Even in less than spectacular years, this once a year event never fails to astonish.
This is wild, weird and wonderful.
The arid landscape along South Africa’s west coast presents a kaleidoscope of colour in August and early September every year. The amount of rain in June and July, winter months in the southern hemisphere, largely determines whether the flowers would be “good” or “just so”. Let’s hope a cold snap does not spoil the party.
Of course, here you get embraced by the most generous hospitality. It’s a region bursting with history and weird place names, like Koeroebees – Nama words for digging deep for water. This is where pioneers of old eked out a living; their crumbling sun-baked homesteads dating from 1844 lie in ruins. Old-world charm, people so caring and wonderfully innovative in a land so dry, yet so extraordinarily beautiful.
As you tour here, go for wine tasting at any of the numerous cellars in the area. Or try the olives and other fruits of the land. Do a rooibos tour and, yes, an instructive tasting in Clanwilliam where this healthy herbal beverage is produced from the indigenous rooibos (pronounced Roy-boss, meaning red bush) shrub of the Fabaceae family. It gets exported widely. Rooibos and variations like ‘rooibosch’ that designate products of the Aspalathus linearis plant are protected by law.
This year Covid-19 put paid to the popular Clanwilliam Wildflower Show in the 1864 Dutch Reformed church building, now called ‘Die Blomkerk’ (Flower Church), but the townsfolk say they will compensate by hosting a magnificent event in 2021.
Visit Algeria – not in North Africa, but CapeNature’s conservation area in the Cederberg where the mountains get wrapped in yellow wildflowers.
Closer to Cape Town the West Coast National Park spreads a vibrant carpet of colours as in a rich tapestry. Do bend down to check out nature’s tiny life: insects, reptiles and birds.
You’re sure to visit again.