Rocher­pan Na­ture Re­serve

go! - - West Coast -

You hear them early in the morn­ing: flamin­gos, lap­wings, cor­morants, ducks, grebes and ev­ery kind of gull imag­in­able. That’s your sig­nal to grab your cof­fee flask and head to one of the three bird hides next to the pan. Take your time – the flow­ers only open later in the day. Rocher­pan might be a small re­serve, but it can keep you busy for a week. Bring all your toys: a flower guide, a book to read, a swim­ming cos­tume, hik­ing boots, your moun­tain bike… The 7 km Guar­rie Trail goes through strand­veld where you’ll see white, yel­low and or­ange daisies. Or fol­low the 2,5 km Beach Hop­per Trail where you’ll see the near-threat­ened Babi­ana hir­suta flow­er­ing on the dunes – its flow­ers are fiery red. For lunch, braai near one of the bird hides or pic­nic above the sand dunes. In the late af­ter­noon when the flow­ers close, you can watch the sun­set from your stoep and lis­ten to the sud­den quiet that de­scends once the birds have gone to bed. Where can I see flow­ers? The flow­ers on the West Coast don’t fol­low the rules. You might see white or or­ange daisies (sev­eral species of the Ursinia genus) on any road in the area. Drive a cir­cu­lar route via Aurora, Redel­inghuys and Elands Bay – mostly along gravel roads – and look for doll’s roses ( Her­man­nia scabra) and yel­low vark­slaai ( Con­i­cosia pu­gion­i­formis). Fa­cil­i­ties: There are eight cot­tages in to­tal: four sleep four (dou­ble bed and a sleeper couch) and four sleep six (dou­ble bed, two sin­gle beds and a sleeper couch). Don’t be put off by the eco toi­lets – they “flush” with soil in­stead of water. Of the four-sleep­ers, Flamingo and King­fisher are the most pri­vate. There’s also a swim­ming pool and a jun­gle gym for the kids. Rates: Daily con­ser­va­tion fee R40 per adult; R20 per child un­der 12; free with a Wild card. Four-sleeper cot­tage from R850 for two peo­ple; six-sleeper from R1 200 for four peo­ple. R150 per ex­tra per­son. How to get there: Rocher­pan is about 180 km north of Cape Town. Take the R27 to Veld­drif, then fol­low the coastal road to Dwarskers­bos. Go through Dwarskers­bos and drive an­other 10 km. Con­tact: 079 203 1092 (of­fice); 021 483 0190 (book­ings); cape­na­ture.co.za

Note: The pan is dry from March to June. – Esma Marnewick park and it gives you the op­por­tu­nity to set off on a flower mis­sion early, while the day vis­i­tors are still wait­ing for the gate to open at 7 am. Duinepos is also an eco-friendly des­ti­na­tion, with a fo­cus on sav­ing water and re­cy­cling waste. It’s a quiet spot, tucked into the coastal fyn­bos, and a prime spot for bird­watch­ing. Where can I see flow­ers? Duinepos is 14 km from See­berg, one of the most scenic view­points in the park. The fa­mous Post­berg sec­tion, which is only open dur­ing Au­gust and Septem­ber, is 21 km away. Fields of marigolds ( Arc­to­tis hir­suta) are a cer­tainty in Post­berg, but you can give your­self a pat on the back if you man­age to find the only blue flower

Rocher­pan Na­ture Re­serve

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