The ultimate guide to spring flower season in South Africa

Posted on 3 September 2013

The first day of September traditionally marks the beginning of spring; but South Africa’s spring flowers don’t care about sticking to a schedule. They can blooming from the beginning of August into October – depending on the weather, of course. This guide should have all the information you need to make sure you see them in their full glory.

So grab your friends and family the next time the sun shines (flowers only open when the sun is shining and the temperature is about 14°C) and go for a drive or a hike to enjoy the country’s floral kingdom at its best.



Where to see the spring flowers

If you thought flower viewing was limited to the Cape West Coast during spring, you’d be mistaken. From fields of cosmos and flowering aloes in Mpumalanga to sunflowers in the Free State and proteas in the Eastern Cape, nature puts on a fantastic display throughout the country at this time of the year.


Photo by Fiona McIntosh


Where to hike to see the spring flowers

Also read: Top hiking trails in South Africa for the flower season

1. The Swart Tobie Trail traverses a remote, mostly inaccessible stretch of the Cape West Coast near the town of Koekenaap. Walk through wonderful swathes of wild flowers and along beautiful beaches, experiencing fascinating coastal landforms and, if you’re lucky, whales and dolphins.

2.The Sevilla Rock Art Trail is a four-kilometre trail in the Cederberg that takes you to nine rock art sites. It’s wonderful at any time of year, but the spring flowers make it spectacular.

3. The Five-Bay Trail is a leisurely saunter along the Cape West Coast that explores the five scenic bays between Paternoster and Jacobsbaai. The journey takes you through breathtaking landscapes, and also traces the history of fishing.

The famous hikes through Postberg Nature Reserve, which is only open to the public during August and September.


Best nature reserves for spring flowers

1. Columbine Nature Reserve outside Paternoster is beautiful all year but is especially impressive in spring, when the sour figs, spider lilies, red pelargonium and Cape daisies carpet the veld.

2. Rondeberg Private Nature Reserve just 63 kilometres from Cape Town on the R27, offers one-hour guided walks.

3. Akkerendam Nature Reserve shows off the best flowers in Calvinia. It is also a proclaimed bird sanctuary and has two trails.

4. Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve offers more serious hikes, from day trips to four-day routes which also take in rock paintings. Booking is essential. Tel 0272181010.

5. Nieuwoudtville Wild Flower Reserve has some two-hour walks for a relaxed stroll.

6. Namaqua National Park near Kamieskroon has at its heart the wonderful Skilpad Wildflower Reserve, where you’ll find some of the richest bulb flora in the world. Think tortured rock formations, iconic quiver trees, big blue skies and carpets of flowers.

7. Ramskop Nature Reserve and Wildflower Garden in Clanwilliam draws thousands of tourists each year and no visit to Clanwilliam during spring is complete without a visit.

8. Postberg Flower Reserve in The West Coast National Park is crammed full of flowers this time of the year. Read more about our visit to Postberg last year.



Spring flower festivals and shows 2016

1. Darling Wildflower Show: 16 – 18 September 2016

A hall will be landscaped with Darling wildflowers, from the most fragile and rare to the ones easily found. Craft and fun stalls with goodies await you along with food and refreshments. Your entrance ticket includes a free ride on a tractor drawn wagon to see the Oude Post wetland that can only be seen during the show.

2. Clanwilliam Wildflower Show: 26 August – 3 September 2016

Featuring a kaleidoscopic display of all the flowers that can be seen, right at the time of the show, in the surrounding areas of Clanwilliam, along with an exposition on the pollinators and propagators that that keep the floral kingdom alive.

3. Festival of Trees: 23 – 25 September 2016

Join in the fun at a relaxed country festival in this charming Eastern Cape village with guided garden tours, musical events, craft and food stalls.

4. Amathole Adventure: 5-9 August 2016

Celebrate the magical explosion of colourful spring flowers! Bike ride through the magnificent Amathole Mountain Basin and visit the private gardens of Hogsback in the Eastern Cape where you will learn about the history and the planting of the gardens that you visit.

5. Magoebaskloof and Haenertsburg Spring Festival: 24 September – 02 October 2016

Take a trip to the Land of Silver Mist and discover the joys of spring at a nine-day festival showcasing food, art, crafts and music. Visit the spectacular Cheerio Gardens and Sequoia Gardens to see the flowering cherries, crab apples and azaleas in bloom.


Get into South African National Parks for FREE!

Once a year, the guys at SANParks generously open their gates to the South African public for free. This is a great opportunity to visit one of our 21 National Parks and learn about their role in conserving our heritage. This year, National Parks Week is from 12 – 17 September 2016. All you need is your South African ID and a day off work – although some parks are even extending it to the weekend as well.



You may also like:

Cameron Ewart-Smith’s top tips for photographing flowers

Six of the best places to see flowers in South Africa

Where to see the wild flowers of Namaqualand

A guide to seeing the flowers in the West Coast National Park 

Get the latest West Coast Flower Report here (you can also print a copy and take it with you when you venture out in search of flowers).

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