Throughout the year the West Coast National Park is visited by a few tourists or bird watching locals but during the precious eight weeks of August and September the park comes alive with rare blooms.
After a long dry winter we finally experience some rains in early spring and this much-needed water causes an explosion of wildflowers in very specific areas. The West Coast National Park is one of the only places you can see the flowers in such quantity and last week Sunday that is where I headed.
Setting the alarm for 6:30am we were packed and ready to go by 7:00am. The drive from Cape Town to the park takes just under an hour, at the gate it costs R75 per adult but with a Wild card the entry is free. The first gates open at 8:30am and then it takes another 40 minutes or so to drive through the park to the Postberg gate, which is where you want to go to see the flowers. The second gate only opens at 9:00am and by the time we got there, there was already a line of about 20 cars. Granted this was a Sunday and the weather was beautiful so any visit on a weekday would definitely be less crowded!
Entrance through the second gate is free but make sure to keep your receipt from the first gate.
We sailed on through and immediately stopped at the first tiny field of flowers already overcome by the beauty of it and assuming this was it. After we had taken our fare share of snapshots we drove on and a few kilometers onwards we found a truly impressive artists pallet of blossoms. Bright orange with dashes of purple and splashes of yellow, these small rare flowers all pointing their faces gratefully to the sun. Carpets of white flowers that, from a distance, look like snow.
There are signs posted saying that you are not allowed out of your vehicle but the temptation is so strong that everyone gets out to get a closer look at the miraculous flora. I must admit, I too ignored the signs and got out of the car on more than one occasion. I think the park rangers have accepted this as long as you stay out of the flowers and on the roads.
There are also two lovely picnic spots in the Postberg nature reserve or do what we did and stop off at the Langebaan lagoon for a quick swim and sunbathe. The whole experience was lovely. Being witness to something that special is truly incredible. If you want to see the wildflowers, rush on over because the season only lasts another 3 weeks!