2016 SPRING FLOWER TOUR: Westcoast and Namaqualand
Contributor: Roger Voysey.
Photographs: Roger Voysey.
The following misty day we were able to visit two popular haunts.
Firstly: Papkuisfontein, a farm 20 klms drive to the east, where in previous years we had enjoyed fields and fields of massed Bulbinellas. Alas these lovely bulbs were very sparse due to the drought and late rains.
Secondly: Magiesfontein Roadstall a roadside shop on a farm (halfway on the same road as for Nieuwouldville ) which opens its’ farm roads on a circular route where we enjoyed masses of daisies.
The following day, although still overcast, was reserved for many rewarding hours in Hantam National Botanical Garden. Previously known as Glenlyon it was sold to SANBI in 2007 and has now become the ninth National Botanical Garden managed by SANBI. Glenlyon was originally opened to ecotourism 40 years earlier as a private initiative and brought many ecologically-minded people from all over the world to the farm.
One of the highlights of our whole tour was the sighting of over 50 Blue Crown Cranes! What a priviledge! Often on our trips from Knysna to Cape Town we get excited if we see more than two, but here there were 50 in one sighting!
The treasure trove of bulb species is on the right hand side of the road after entering the Reserve. Notwithstanding the drought great fun was had walking and identifying, and attempting to identify, countless bulb species.
Leaving Niewoudtville it was back to the N7 and a long drive to Garies where we had a booking at Sophias B & B. Despite initial fears about the accommodation standards we were pleasantly surprised with the stand alone flat that we had to ourselves. Breakfast was included but one needs to plan carefully for the main meal of the day.
After seeking advice from the locals we spent the following day on a long drive on the N7 to Kamieskroon, and then on gravel roads to the coast, where we had more delicious grilled hake, at Hondeklipbaai. We missed out visiting Skilpad as we had seen it many times before and we were advised that there was nothing new to see.
On the way back to Garies, still on gravel roads, we continued to see more marvellous vistas.
The next day was time to return on the N7 to Paternoster. On the way we stopped off at Clanwilliam to attend the Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show with an amazing spectacle of massed and individual flower species.
Further on we also visited the Hopefield Wild Flower Show with an equally exciting spectacle of a completely different number of plant and wildlife species.
On this final leg of our journey we began to see different flowers and a number of dams each with stunning views of Flamingos in full colour.
The Flower Tour ended with us staying in fun accommodation at Paternoster where we finished off with old Johannesburg friends enjoying a magnificent lunch at Gaatjie Restaurant.