Contributor: Clare Miller.
Over the last few years, we have been to see the flowers but always to Langebaan where we stay with family and always thoroughly enjoy visiting the West Coast Park with its swathes of flowers.
This year was different. Our trip took us to Clanwilliam and the flower fields further north with a group of Old Car Fanatics, which straight away changed the focus. In between a visit in Nieuwoudsville to a guy who owns well over 200 dusty motorbikes and a visit to another petrolhead in Ceres, who owns even more old American and other classic cars, we ladies were allowed to go to the flowers.
Of course a visit to Clanwilliam is incomplete without popping in to see the Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show in the church. There was much ‘ooohing’ and ‘aaahing’ as we walked around rocks and under trees to see beds, ponds and plantings of an exquisite selection of local flowers and bulbs, and all in flower! We also thoroughly enjoyed the Ramskop Flower Park where we marvelled at the bulbs which were just starting to emerge and gazed at the vistas with the beautiful Clanwilliam Dam completing the scene.
Day 3 had us all motoring along to Nieuwoudville to meet Eugene our delightful and knowledgeable guide who took us walking through a small area explaining each plant as we went. There are three biomes up there and in the one we were in, Eugene pointed out five endemic plants which have been tagged. Not only are they endemic to that area but they are not found anywhere else in the world.
We loved the fact that the Brunsvigia bosmaniae grew in patches where the tumble weeds had come to rest either because it was low lying or because a fence had stopped them. We waited for the multitude of Karoosatynblomme to open and gasped at the glow of each petal. Then back to the town to load up our cars with succulents of every sort.
Other memorable visits were to see the Gannets at Lambert’s Bay and Riel dancing in a Bushman’s Cave. The views from this amphitheatre stretched out in front of us as a golden sun sank over the horizon. Once again the West Coast had worked its magic.