It is now nearing the time to start thinking about visiting areas in the Cape well-known for their wild flowers.
The season can start a early as the end of July and go right through until the end of August, depending, of course on the weather conditions. The flowers like plenty of rain during the winter but warm sunshine in spring.
If you are planning to visit the flowers please bear in mind that they do not open during overcast or wet weather. The best times for visiting are generally after 4 pm in the afternoon when it is warm. Try to approach the flowers with the sun behind you as the flowers always point towards the sun. You will see the colours much better.
My recommendation is that you spend at least two days in the area in case the weather is not perfect, that gives you a better chance of see the blooms in all their splendour. If possible try to arrange a private tour or drive yourself, so much better than in a crowd on a bus.
If you are contemplating taken photographs of the flowers take a wide-angle and a telephoto lens along with a good tripod. You can get some amazing shots with a 200 or 300 mm lens, focusing on one flower and letting the background blur. Also don’t be afraid to get down on your hands and knees for low down flower level shots.
Some of the best places to visit are:
For one day trips all along the west coast, particularly the West Coast National Park, and the Darling and Hopefield area. The flowers can be good but possible not as go as further north, and it can become very crowded over a weekend.
For longer tours Calnwilliam can be the starting point. The area around Clanwilliam Dam are often covered with a carpet of white flowers. It is not unknown to have white flowers in the valleys and white snow on the mountains.
As you go further east past Clanwilliam, off the Wuppertal road you come to a turnoff to the Bidouw valley, it is possibly best to drive this road in a 4X4 although a bakkie with a high ground clearance is also suitable. A very careful driver in a car can also manage it but very slowly.
Further north along the N7 you will eventually arrive at Kamiskroon, this is the start of the spectacular flower area, particularly around the Skilpad flower reserve. There is also a small hotel at Kamiskroon, but you have to be very quick to make a booking because it soon fills up with visitors over this period. As a diversion from the flowers you can also visit Leliefontain a missionary village surrounded by farmlands which also boast flowers and windmills, always a good combination photography wise.
Before you embark on any trip it is worthwhile enquiring about the conditions and flowers a good place to start is flowers