Where to go and what to see when you're in the Cape

31
Oct 11

The West Coast of the Western Cape Province has a distinct character and appeal all of its own. Geographically the “West Coast” stretches from Cape Town in the south northwards to the small coastal town of Lamberts Bay.It is a fairly wide stretch of coastal plain that runs along the mighty Atlantic Ocean on the west and as far east as the mysterious Cederberg range of mountains.

Here you’ll find tiny fishing villages with their whitewashed cottages and beached boats, like Paternoster and Jacobsbaai or small towns with their own personalities like Darling and Yzerfontein.Normally the landscape along this coastal flatland is bland and boring with scrubby bushes like gwarrie and salie growing in profusion in what South African’s refer to as the sandveld .Believe it or not these clumpy bushes thrive on the coarse sandy dunes and salt air.Outcrops of granite and limestone give the landscape an eerie moon-like appearance. Completely at home amongst these inhospitable outcrops, you’ll find succulents (or vygies) growing happily.

Bland and boring the landscape may be - until a magical transformation takes place after the winter rains and when the warm breezes start to blow; bringing the pollinators out to do their work.Then, this harsh coastal plain becomes a magic carpet of glowing, rich colours and textures as the spring flowers blossom.Fields of blue, purple, yellow, orange, pink, magenta and cerise stretch for as far as the eye can see and one can only gasp at the beauty and search for words to adequately describe this astonishing phenomenon.One of the best places to view the West Coast flowers is at Postberg, which is reached after driving through the West Coast Nature Reserve, just before Langebaan.The nature reserve skirts the pristine and tranquil Langebaan lagoonand as you drive toward Postberg keep an eye out for the graceful reed-like restios or grasses that grow in the reserve.Ericas and a few proteas may also be seen.

The gate that leads through to the Postberg area is only open to the public from late July through to October and, because of this, the area is pristine and breathtaking.Along with the flowers, one may be lucky enough to spot Springbok, Bontebok or black Wildebeest grazing amongst the riot of colour.

From Hout Bay the trip will take about four hours there and back. Leave at least two to three hours to drive slowly through the magnificent fields of colour and the entire trip should take no more than seven hours from start to finish. One of the many tracks through the area leads to a picnic spot on the edge of an unspoiled bay, where you can relax and absorb the silence and tranquillity while enjoying your picnic.

The flowers are at their best from late July/ early August through to September and this is an excellent time to visit Cape Town, as you’ll be able to take advantage of the many winter specials on offer.

 

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