A Kaleidoscope of Colour

Imagine thick blankets made of billions of flowers laid over the mountain slopes and valleys that stretch till the horizon, with an astounding spectrum of colours. Experience this magnificent natural phenomenon in South Africa during the explosion of spring blooms in the region that encompasses the Western and Northern Cape provinces.


Blooms near Clanwilliam.

If you’re in Cape Town between August and September, do not miss the spectacular wildflowers around Clanwilliam, in the Western Cape (a few hours’ drive from Cape Town) and further up north in Namaqualand (Northern Cape). This mountainous region, part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is usually barren but in the spring, it becomes a magical Garden of Eden as thousands of varieties of fynbos plants blossom, carpeting the mountainsides and valleys for as far as the eye can see with an amazing kaleidoscope of colour. The flowers are so abundant and the colours so intense, you’ll be struck with awe. Guaranteed!

Many of the towns in this region organise flower shows during the season which are visited by both locals and tourists alike. When setting out on a drive or walk to see the flowers, keep in mind that the flowers are best viewed with the sun behind you, preferably between 10:30 and 15:30 when the day is at its warmest. A good starting point for information on the best times, areas and routes is the Clanwilliam Information Office or the Northern Cape Tourism Authority.

This region also has various spectacular mountain passes which provide for some stunning vistas. The drive from Cape Town to Clanwilliam winds through the beautiful Piekenaarskloof Pass near Citrusdal. The Middelberg Pass, also near Citrusdal, is another amazing mountain pass.

Read about the marine life of the Western Cape.

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17 Responses to “A Kaleidoscope of Colour”

  1. velvet 29/09/2009 7:02 pm

    Hi Dorothee,
    Thanks so much for your comment and the useful links!
    Much appreciated.

    Best regards,

  2. Dorothee 29/09/2009 6:18 pm

    Excellent article Keith! 🙂
    The flower season is in deed spectacular and a must-see for everyone in South Africa at that time. Especially nature lovers and photography enthusiasts will enjoy the splendour of this natural spectacle!

    This is a link to a selection of flower-photos taken in the West Coast National Park(about an hour’s drive from CPT): http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=36190 and the official San Park site to the Namaqua National Park: http://www.sanparks.org/parks/namaqua/
    It states that more than 1000 of its plant species are found nowhere else on earth! Now that’s impressive!

    Dorothee (Southafrica-Stay.com) 🙂

  3. Travel-Writers-Exchange.com 22/07/2009 4:54 pm

    Cape Town looks so beautiful. I’m can imagine that the flower shows are spectacular. I’m sure they’re a site to see. You could take some great pictures. Simply gorgeous!

  4. velvet 09/07/2009 12:14 pm

    Hi Ciki,
    Thanks for your comment and the link back! Much appreciated.


  5. cumidanciki 09/07/2009 4:59 am

    excellent blog, velvet .. iv linked ya under “blogs i kick back with”. cheers xoxo, ciki

  6. velvet 08/07/2009 5:45 pm

    Hi Yvonne & Herman,
    Hahahaha! I did not get lost and no, there was no need for a heli to come rescue me! I most enjoyed my stroll through Soekershof (in the Robertson valley) and Yvonne’s passionate commentary of the largest collection of succulents anywhere on this planet!

    To any of my readers, if you’re in South Africa and passing through the Robertson Valley, drop by the Soekershof gardens and maze. It’s gorgeous! Say “goede dag” to Yvonne & Herman (two fellow Dutchies) for me too!


  7. Yvonne 08/07/2009 5:39 pm

    Of course we remember ‘Velvet’. He got a bit lost in the maze and had to be rescued with a helicopter of the military police (ha, ha, ha …).
    Anyway: many things have changed in the past years (see http://soekershof.com) and for a year round floral display just visit this wonderful place.

    Enjoy Life
    (our life is full of cactus but we don’t sit on it)

    Herman & Yvonne

  8. jen Laceda 08/07/2009 3:43 am

    Never been to Cape Town, but I am just aching, aching, aching to go with my husband and daughter! Hopefully soon…

  9. Janice 07/07/2009 8:23 pm

    It looks stunning. I love landscape that is both rugged and rich.

  10. velvet 07/07/2009 5:50 pm

    Hi Christine,
    You’re right. You have to see it with your own eyes to appreciate the full effect!

    Best regards,

  11. Christine 07/07/2009 5:44 pm

    Very well written. As a born & bred Capetonian this is a near annual expidition for us and you actually have to see it to get the full effect. Its quite something!

  12. velvet 07/07/2009 5:31 pm

    Hi Sherry,
    Thanks. I’m glad I got to see it. I was quite late but was very lucky because it was an unusually wet winter so the the blooms lasted longer. Well, you certainly didn’t miss the durian experience! 😉


  13. Sherry Ott 07/07/2009 5:16 pm

    Looks lovely. Unfortunately 3 years ago I was in Capetown during that time and missed out on this! Boo hoo. Maybe next time!


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