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
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.