22 September 2016

THE MAGIC CARPET - BLOOMING WONDERFUL

Spring flowers of the Cape West Coast, Cederberg and Namaqualand in the Northern Cape, have a worldwide reputation. Regions that, for 80% of the year could be described as arid and desert-like, are miraculously transformed into a carpet of colours crammed with flowers as far as the eye can see.

After the celebrated July rains, the dirt and grass become unrecognisable as a blanket of flowers in their thousands, varying in size and colour. They coat the countryside - orange daisies, white daisies, pink daisies, yellow daisies. The season is short and largely depends on the level of rainfall, but typically flower season blooms from August and September (predominantly, but also sometimes into October).

Ideally one would visit Namaqualand in mid-August, the Cederberg in mid to late August, and the West Coast in early September. We know what you’re thinking – where would you stay amid this blanket of gorgeousness? If it were up to us nature-loving, native South Africans we’d say between the majestic Cederberg Mountains and the vast open plains of the Great Karoo at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat in Clanwilliam.

Voted the best small hotel in the world by a leading travel publication, this ecological oasis is custodian to 130 extraordinary bush art painting sites dating back as far as 10,000 years (which by the way, guests have exclusive access to). Surrounded by the awe-inspiring Cederburg Mountain range, Bushman’s Kloof is the perfect springboard for flower escapes. The Cederberg Mountain Range, which forms part of the Cape floral region, is a World Heritage Site with an abundance of indigenous flora and fauna, over 150 kinds of birds, 750 plant species and over 35 species of mammals. And, it’s only a scenic two and a half hour drive from Cape Town.

Perhaps I speak for myself, but one of the most compelling aspects of spring flower getaways, is that there’s no need to forfeit your leisurely mornings - flowers are at their best in the late morning and the late afternoon. They don’t come out in rainy weather of course, so you’d plan something else on those days, such as visiting the rock paintings, looking for wildlife or treating yourself to an indulgent massage. The Bushman’s Kloof spa has been voted South Africa’s best ‘Luxury Wellness Spa’.

The key with spring flower season is to book in advance. And when you do experience these endemic beauties, find a designated spot, get out of your car and walk or picnic among them – you’ll appreciate them so much more.

 

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