Jenni and I are just back from a 2000 kilometres trip up the west coast to photograph the annual spring flowers. Excellent rains in the Niewoudtville area mean that this is the area to visit at the moment. For diversity and shear flower numbers the Niewoudtville area was just outstanding. They are getting very early flowers this year and expect a longer season if the weather holds. If you are keen on visiting this area don’t delay.
Where to see the flowers in Niewoudtville:
We found wonderful fields on Papkuilsfontein Farm, 12 kilometres south of the town on a dirt road. There are two circular routes — one orange and one pink. The pink route combines renosterveld with annuals and bulbs and lovely yellow Bulbinellas. The diversity is breathtaking. Matjiesfontein Farm was also outstanding. The Hantam Botanical Garden is also a hotspot and offers guided trips with a botanist and a series of walking trails that range in length and offer access to the Dolorite koppies, which offer a different variety of flowers.
When to see the flowers in Niewoudtville
The flowering should continue in to September depending upon some more rain. If there are warm berg winds the show will come to an end. The flowering plants start to open from midday so sleep late or visit the waterfall and Kokerboom forest before the flowers start to open. Peak is between 2 and 4pm. Usually temperatures need to be 18 degrees or more for full opening. Clouds and wind affect the show. Make sure you get out on foot and walk amongst the flowers to see the unusual and hidden gems.
Accommodation in Niewoudtville:
A great place to stay in the town and eat was the Nedersetting Guest House. Owner, Wessie, was a mine of information. Papkuilsfontein has cottages if you want to stay right in the flowers but they don’t have electricity, so may not suit people needing to charge camera batteries etc.
Other things to do on the West Coast in Spring
The Gannet colony at Bird Island in Lambert’s Bay is in full swing in Spring – with thousands of birds getting ready to lay their eggs. There is an excellent hide and it is open from dawn until dusk. Sunset excellent for photography. In Paternoster we stayed in the wonderful Linhof Guest House and this little town is so charming with a fishing village, long beaches, kayaking and lovely restaurants.
Other areas to see the flowers
We did not include the West Coast National Park on this trip, but believe this area is still looking great. It is just two hours from Cape Town. The circular route through the Posberg National Park is the highlight. Avoid weekends as they can get busy and there are often queues at the gate. We heard that the Biedouw Valley near Clanwilliam was looking good but we did not get there. We drove from Lambert’s Bay to Paternoster via Veldrift and Elands Bay and saw plenty of flowers on the roadsides. The flower fields in the north near Kamieskroon are just not performing this year due to low rainfall. However there are some orange and yellow fields on the mountain road between Kamieskroon and Leliesfontein. If you are passing through this area we can highly recommend a stay at Sophia’s Guest House in Garies.
We did this as a recce trip and are keen to invite photographers and flower lovers to join us again in 2019. Contact us if you are keen to join us.