Blanketing most of SA's West Coast, flowers are blossoming and creating gorgeous landscapes, making this one of the best times of the year for trail runners and hikers - and anyone who wants to get out and about ... and literally smell the flowers.
Potsberg Peninsula, West Coast National Park
Just one hour from Cape Town, West Coast National Park is probably the most popular place to visit because of its proximity to the city. It’s ideal for a day trip but also offers accommodation options to make this a weekend event.
For day trips, the Geelbek and Bakoor trails offer distances of up to 9km and will allow you to take in all of the park’s beauty. For slightly longer hikes, you could walk or run the Strandveld two-day hike or the Potsberg two-day hike open only during August and September ... so make the most of this asap.
There are overnight camping facilities but you must carry your own equipment on route. This makes running a bit more difficult unless you plan to pack very light. The total distances covered for the two days are roughly 28 kilometres.
The Darling District
Darling, an hour from Cape Town and not far from the coast, boasts some of SA’s finest wine farms such as Cloof and Groote Post Wine Estates - and is where South Africa icon, Evita Bezuidenhout resides!
Summiting the 378 meters of Bobbejaanberg offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. You can even stay over at the Darling Stagger if you enjoy slackpacking. The hike is 20 kilometers long and takes you from the coastal town of Yzerfontein through to Darling in just two and a half days.
For trail runners who want to explore the countryside quickly there are many opportunities to visit the surrounding wine farms. And don't forget, the Darling Wildflower Show will be celebrating its 100th show from 14-17 September.
Flowers in Darling
Referred to by some as the “Final Frontier”, with the ability to transport you back a few hundred years, Cederberg - only three hours from Cape Town - lies within the Biedouw Valley.
This tranquil, off-the-beaten-track area is renowned for its farm houses and spring flowers - even thouh the worst rainfall in the Cederberg Mountains in more than half a century forced organisers of the popular Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show to cancel the annual event earlier this year.
One of the trails to try is CapeNature's recently upgraded Truitjieskraal interpretive trail, which forms part of the Greater Cederberg region and has more than 2 500 sites with rock art.
The Truitjieskraal trail will allow you to get an understanding of how the landscape formed, how plants and animals contribute to it, and how dynamic ecological processes continue to change it.
Hantam Bokkeveld – Niewoudtville
Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve, comprising of 4776 hectares of mountains which have been dissected by deep river gorges through which the Oorlogskloof River flows, is only four hours from Cape Town, 16km outside of Niewoudtville and 50km from Vanrhynsdorp in the Northern Cape.
Considered the heart of the wild flower region, the area boasts abundant plant life and is situated on the ecotone area of the Fynbos and Karoo Biomes.
There are two major hiking trails that have been laid out in the reserve and two day walks. If you’re just there to run, check out the day walks such as the Leopard Trap trail (15.5km) or the Rietvlei trail (17.9km). See unique wild flowers and swim in the Oorlogskloof River after a long hike.
Kamieskroon and Namaqua National Park
Only five hours from Cape Town, Kamieskroon and Namaqua National Park promises fields of flowers, granite outcrops and clear starry nights, among other natural wonders.
It's recommended that you spend a few nights here to appreciate the large landscape and everything it has to offer. A 4x4 is also recommended so that you can drive through the park and camp in various places that offer braai facilities and toilets.
Here, one must explore the 5km Sklipad trail, and to see a wider variety of flowers, combine it with the 3km Korhaan trail that takes you through more bushy areas of the park.
If you don’t have your own tent, take advantage of the glamping tent accommodation on the Skilpad trail which is only open during August and September.
You don’t need to go far from the town of Springbok to see the daisies ... A six hour drive from Cape Town will get you to the town surrounded by colourful blooms.
Travel a further 15km to the Goegap Nature Reserve to explore indigenous flower species, wildlife and birds, as well as the Hester Malan Wild Flower garden that features succulents. Depending on the rain, you could see flowers until October!
At Goegap Nature Reserve, choose between various hiking trails to run or walk, ranging from 4km to 12km.