Sunday, September 06, 2020

The Spring Flowers in the West Coast National Park at Postberg

Spring is around the corner and our magnificent spring flowers have begun to bloom up our West Coast. We haven't been for a couple of years and now that we have all the time in the world, we waited for the first sunny and headed off. 

It took us one hour and 8 minutes, leaving home at 8.30am to get to the gates of Postberg Nature Reserve up the R27. It is 88 kilometres from Cape Town. The road was remarkably free of traffic but, when we got there, there was a small queue. John had Googled the opening time which said 9, but it is actually 10 am. However, getting there before it opened meant that it was less crowded when we got in. If you go for the first time you need to know that once you have got through the gate and paid your entry fee, it is quite a long drive until you get into the actual park where the flowers are. Don’t give up! it does seem longer as you have to drive at 30 Km/h. There are not many flowers on the first stretch but, once you are in the park, they are everywhere. BUT the sun must be shining. They don’t open if it’s cloudy. There are dirt roads, but they are very well maintained. It will not damage your car. There were many SUVs, but we did see a couple of low-slung sports cars.

We had the perfect Spring day, very cold initially and by lunchtime it was 20ºC and warm. The flowers are totally magnificent. It was a crowd of mainly pensionable age, all enjoying the spectacle. We had our picnic lunch at Plankiesbaai sitting in front of our car on our camping chairs with some refreshment, enjoying the sea view. (see the video) Alcohol is not allowed in the park. We actually got hot and I needed my sunhat. The park closes at 4, so to avoid the rush, we left at just before 3 and drove to Darling. There is a small flower reserve called the Tienie Versfeld Reserve on that road which is enchanting, but it was still a little early in the season. If you go next week it might be better. We visited The Darling Wine Shop to see Charles Withington only to find that he was in Cape Town! So we headed off home via Malmesbury and did stop briefly at the Darling Cellars, had a very fast tasting and came home with some wines. Very reasonable prices and we were given a pensioner’s discount without asking. We bought a case each of their Reserve Arum Fields Chenin Blanc, the Reserve Bush Vine Sauvignon Blanc, and 12 bottles of their amusingly named Pyjama Bush Rosé, a blend of 96% Sauvignon Blanc, 4% Grenache; it is a lovely dry rosé, perfect for summer drinking on our deck with lovely salads and Mediterranean food. All were very reasonable at R50 a bottle. If you are feeling a bit flush, do try their Old Bush vine Cinsault and their other top wines. Worth heading that way folks. And if you want to try more wines of the area do go to the Darling Wine Shop, they have an on-con licence, a comprehensive selection of wines of the area and will be open on Saturdays.

Some scary driving on the the N1 on the way home in the evening. Totally mad and irresponsible taxi drivers trying to force people off the road and, just after the Visserhok turnoff where the N48 crosses the N7, we were horrified to see large trucks and vans crossing the motorway in front of us at speed, there are no traffic lights or traffic calming notices and there were near misses. It is a bad accident waiting to happen. 

Joining the short queue at the entrance to Postberg Nature Reserve. This is where you pay your entrance fee

The flowers carpet every spare bit of ground

And the white daisies look like drifts of snow

There are white, orange and yellow daisies ...

and in between many coloured vygies and other wild flowers, the real fynbos

The park is very large and has huge outcrops of weathered rocks. There is also some game to see and other wild life

John caught this cattle egret on camera just as it was about to take off

Another in a field of daisies

A view of Saldanah Bay from near the top look out 
Pink vygies - mesembryanthemum
A close up of the face of a white daisy shows the complexity.  The pink round the centre is a target for bees to aim for
Some of the smaller flowers hidden in the grass
A shell of an Angulate tortoise 
Fields of  wild blue flax heliophila-coronopifolia aka Sporries.  Often found on higher ground at Postberg
A small babiana that resembles a violet
A nice variety if you look closer
Lachenalia, the Cape Hyacinth which we used to call Ever Trevor when I lived in Llandudno in my youth. The smell of this lovely plant is sweet and floral and carries a long way
Pale blue Babiana flowers
Tiny daisies with the vygies
And a view up the coast looking towards Yserfontain.  On a very clear day you might see Table Mountain

Lynne made a short video at Plankiesbaai, where we stopped for lunch

This gull wanted some of our lunch. Do not feed them as if you do, you will suddenly be surrounded by many more

A Blesbok in the scrub

On our way to Darling there were lots of fields of acid yellow canola, a good money crop in the Cape and, in front of them on the road margins, a field of arums, more than we have ever seen together. Must be the result of the good rains this winter

Such a beautifully architectural plant

All content © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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