It’s flower time, but to be sure the blooms are actually out, call the local tourist information offices closest to these West Coast wildflower hotspots:
West Coast National Park: only an hour and a half out of Cape Town, you can begin your flower quest on the Postberg Peninsula of this park, only open in August and September. To avoid weekend crowds consider their one-day Steenbok Trail or two-day Postberg Hike (12km to 15km per day) and camp inside the reserve.
Namaqualand: this is where the real flower shows begin and is a biodiversity hotspot that boasts the richest succulent flora on earth. That’s quite something! Namaqualand extends from the Atlantic all the way inland to Poffadder, and from the Orange River in the north to Garies in the south, and the Hantam Karoo around Calvinia. To ensure the best self-drive spring flower tour, steer a course around this Northern Cape region also taking in Springbok, Kamieskroon and Port Nolloth.
Namaqua National Park: millions of years of adaptation have created unimaginable diversity and one of the most spectacular metamorphoses in the world, where the entire landscape bursts into bloom. Add to this some thousand plant species only found here, the distinistive silhouette of quiver trees, massive granite outcrops and snowfalls of quartz and you have a landscape like no other, with big skies and star-spangled nights.
Skilpad Wildflower Reserve: within the Namaqua National Park is Skilpad Wildflower Reserve, renowned for spectacular floral displays. There is a new self-catering restcamp here and the National Park also sets up a temporary tented camp from 15 August to 16 September called Namaqua Flowers Beach Camp.
Richtersveld National Park: contrary to appearance, this mountain desert is dampened by far-reaching sea mists and 300 different plant species have been recorded in one square kilometre. Many reveal themselves in spring and go some way to demonstrate why this has been declared a World Heritage Site. Camp sites must be booked in advance through SAN Parks.
Read what spring flower festivals are still to come this August and September in our blog Top 5 Spring Flower Shows posted on 3 August 2012 and tell us your favourite spring flower hotspots.