Flower Route Namaqualand
Cape Town, West Coast, South Africa
Heading for the spring flower route up the west coast of South Africa?
Planning to go and see the flowers is like deli-shopping for your own gourmet picnic - you take a smorgasbord of roads, towns and flower species and select just what you want :-).
How far you drive, where you go and the flowers you see all depend entirely on your appetite...
How flower mad are you?!
This beautiful video on the flowers in Namaqualand is narrated by Sir David Attenborough...
Where does the Flower Route go?
The West Coast and Namaqualand spring flowers are all found north of Cape Town.
So the main roads on the Flower Route are the R27 from Capetown to Langebaan (120km), and then the N7 north via Clanwilliam (around 200km further on) to Springbok (a further 330km).
You can also take the R364, a gravel back road, for the section between Clanwilliam and Nieuwoudtville, and this I highly recommend.
What's the best way to 'do' the Flower Route?
The best idea is to rent a car in Cape Town and drive yourselves quickly as far north as your time and budget allows!
That could be as far as Springbok, or to Nieuwoudtville, or Clanwilliam, or just an hour north to the West Coast National Park near Langebaan.
Then make your way back to Cape town at a leisurely place, flower-spotting at all your chosen destinations as you go.
Drive the Flower Route backwards? Why?
Because these flowers turn their 'faces' towards the sun. And at this time of the year (August and September) it shines from the north because it's still winter / early spring.
So if you do your flower-spotting while driving from North to South at a gentle pace, you will have the flowers all smiling and showing you their pretty faces as they soak up the sun's warmth
Springbok. Should you go that far north?
The impression of kilometres of daisy-carpeted earth is a strong one, but in fact the flowers do vary a great deal from area to area.
Orange, white, yellow and blue are the dominant, first-impression colours, but there are loads of others when you kneel down close (and that's also the way to get the best blooming photos - down and dirty!)
Close to Cape Town it's mostly annuals, the daisy-types. As you go north you get to the Knersvlakte around Vanrhynsdorp and Niewoudtville and begin to see more and more succulents as well as bulb species (geophytes). Vanrhynsdorp is home to the largest succulent nursery in the world and Nieuwoudtville is known as the bulb capital of the world as so many rare and special species are found there.
The landscape changes too and becomes semi-arid, so there is a surreality to the scene of incredible carpets of flowers in rocky desert-like conditions.
What flowers will you see?
If you are into actual species names, here is a small sample of the families you will find represented on the Flower Route, in no particular order: wahlenbergia, arctotis, gazanias, felicia, watsonia, tiny galdioli, moraeas, babiana, geissorhiza, sparaxis, ixia, lachenalia, humeria.
You want to go the whole hog.
Could you use more insider tips in YOUR planning?
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