CHASING FLOWERS

WE ASKED A GUIDE-BOOK AU­THOR TO SHARE WHAT SHE KNOWS ABOUT GET­TING OFF THE BEATEN TRACK, WHERE AND WHEN TO FIND THE BEST SPOTS, AND WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

Getaway (South Africa) - - Contents - WORDS BY MAR­ION WHITE­HEAD

Find out when to go, where to go and what to look for with flo­ral fundi Mar­ion White­head

It was still July and there we were, gam­bol­ing amid yel­low, or­ange and blue wildflowers cov­er­ing the veld in a hid­den val­ley deep in the Ceder­berg (find out where on page 84). Two hours away, our friends in Cape Town were hud­dled against the cold and wet win­ter winds, sulk­ing at the self­ies we glee­fully sent them when­ever we could get a sig­nal. There’s no need to wait for 1 Septem­ber to catch a dose of spring fever. In fact, much of the show of wildflowers that paint the veld in splashes of vi­brant colour up the West Coast and into Na­maqua­land is over by then. The weather starts warm­ing up much ear­lier the fur­ther north you go, and the flowers re­spond by pok­ing their petals out in the Richtersveld long be­fore they do in Dar­ling. This means you can start en­joy­ing one of the great­est wild­flower spec­ta­cles on Earth in the north in July, and fol­low the sea­son south as the weather warms up through Au­gust and Septem­ber. Of course, it all de­pends on when the rains come – and cli­mate change is mak­ing weather pat­terns less pre­dictable – but the flowers will bloom. All you need to do is catch the show. You’ll also have more fun if you look be­yond the daisies and try spot­ting some of our very special flowers. Twitch­ers get ex­cited about tick­ing off a few hun­dred species of birds, but we have more than 8 000 species of flowers in the Cape Floris­tic Re­gion, and many of them grow nowhere else in the world. So en­joy grow­ing your check­list of beau­ties that won’t fly away the mo­ment you point your cam­era at them!

The mag­nif­i­cent flo­ral land­scape around Lange­baan La­goon an­nounces it’s spring.

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