By Regardt Boshoff, Head Field Guide at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat
The spring flower season from July to October is undoubtedly one of my most favourite times of the year. The reserve and the Namaqualand region comes alive with colour and brings with it the start of a new season.
While we do have a lot of similar species to most of these areas at Bushmans Kloof, it is not in the same abundance and the pop of colour does bring an interesting perspective to our afternoon nature drives and botanical walks.
I am really looking forward to our Botanical events in July and August where we’ll explore the reserve with Kirstenbosch botanist, Ernst van Jaarsveld.
Here are some of the best spots to see the carpets of Namaqualand daisies.
Postberg Flower Reserve
Postberg forms part of the West Coast National Park on the West Coast Road (R27) and is an easy alternative route to the Cederberg and Bushmans Kloof, approximately 40 minutes from Cape Town and two and a half hours from the lodge.
The flowering season here stretches from August to October and this is the only time of the year that entrance to this part of the park is open to visitors. There are common sightings of whales at this time of the year which adds as an extra bonus to your visit.
Drive all the way to Namaqualand, and if you time it properly, you should not be disappointed with the view. From multi-hued carpets of daisies to more delicate clusters of beautiful succulents and geophytes, some similar to what you will see at Bushmans Kloof but mostly different species and in a contrasting setting right on the coast.
Also named the ‘Bulb Capital’ of the Cape Floral Region, Niewoudtville is world-famous for its bulbs or geophytes and is located about an hour away from Clanwilliam and an hour and a half’s drive from the lodge.
The diversity of the geophytes found here makes this area quite unique to the other areas of Namaqualand. This area has 309 of the 1551 species of geophytes which occur in the entire Cape Floral Region and it is common to find up to 50 different species within one square metre!
Kamieskroon (Skilpad Nature Reserve)
Located 363km from Bushmans Kloof, it is an approximate four hour drive to get there.
Skilpad Nature Reserve forms part of the Namaqua National Park and during August to September, it probably has one of the best flower displays in the in the world, with carpets and carpets of flowers stretching as far as the eye can see.
The park has more than one thousand bulb plant species however the main reason for visiting is the Namaqua daisies and succulents. You will also find pre-historic looking Quiver Trees and if you’re lucky, you’ll also spot the world’s smallest tortoise (Namaqua Speckled Padloper)!
The flower season is very dependent on how often and how much rain falls in the preceding winter months. The earlier the rain and the longer the rain lasts, the earlier the season starts and the longer it will last. So always keep this in mind when planning your excursion.