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Dear friends,


This is my first TR here so please be patient with me. I have several friends who post here regularly and some of them have been encouraging me to share my experiences here.

I have been sharing in other travel sites but I now agree with my friends, that this site is probably the best for sharing my love for nature with fellow nature lovers.


So here I come long last with my experience of South Africa from August/September 2015. Me,my better half and two girls, who are fed up with me for chasing the birds, sunrises and sunsets all the time. We are from the rain soaked, little island of Great Britain, where you need to switch on the central heating on 30th May.


This is an odd report as it starts in the middle and probably will end in the middle. We started from Zambia, Vic Falls and then proceeding to Cape Town but I am skipping those sections as there are plenty of high quality TRs on these areas.


Rather I plan to focus mostly on the West Coast , Namaqualand, Northern Cape, Richtersveld and Augrabies.

The last bit of the trip is the Panorama route and Kruger and again plenty of top notch reports from there, but perhaps I'll add a photo or two.



" Where are you going after Cape Town ?"
" Towards Namaqualand "
" What land ? Name Aqua ? Is it full of water there ? "

Ninety percent of tourists from UK either arrive at Cape Town at the end of a trip through the Garden Route or embark on a trip to Garden Route from CT. The name of Namaqua, Cedarberg, Springbok, Skilpad mean nothing to them. But thankfully I have a few of South African colleagues who directed me towards the miracle which takes place every year in this arid land.


The main goal of this trip was to see the flower power of South Africa.

When I was doing my research I was surprised to see how little up to date information was available in the web. Even the SANParks sites were full of tales after tales of Kruger and Kgalagadi and only a handful on Namaqua NP and a few more on Richtersveld NP and other arid parks. If this was happening in Europe there would have been a massive publicity push with webcams planted every 100 yards.


I feel sorry for those who leave SA without seeing this. But at the same time, standing at the top of Van Rhynsdorp pass looking over the massive Gifberg plateau, I wished that it would stay like that for ever, free from safari vehicles and bus load of tourists.
I hugely regret not spending more time when travelling through this region.

The more I researched the more I realised how weather dependent this experience was. Rain, rain and it must fall at right time and right amount. Even after blossoming, just one day of hot wind from the Berg can wither all the flowers.
I started praying for rain and just my luck , 2015 happened to be an El Nino year with unpredictable rain. I promised to God that I'd give up wine and my wife promised to give up Chocolate ( which is genuinely a big deal). This arrangement with God had worked in the past , so I was quite hopeful.

I asked for information wherever I could and in my desperation contacted the SANparks directly and they very kindly reassured me that rain had started to fall over the Western cape and the year looked promising.

When visiting Skilpad section of Namaqua NP I made it a point to find out the ranger Mrs Van Lente and thank her personally for reassuring me.


I was also reliably informed that a visit to the West Coast NP and the Langebaan lagoon will be a good investment. The flowers start to appear in North to South direction as the summer kicks in. West Coast NP is at the southern tip of the Flower route.

​The flowers usually appear much later in the south and the full flower power will be in September at West Coast NP but I thought it was still worth a trip.


Watching the flowers can be a total gamble. Flowers do not open their faces below 18 degrees centigrade and often follow the sun, so the best way to see them was from north to south.


I woke up on the last morning at Cape Town and the weather forecast did not look great over West Coast. But there was not much I could do so off I went. Easy couple of hours drive took me to West Coast NP and the entry fee was covered by the Wild Card.

The northern tip of West coast is the Postberg section which is the top draw but the scenery along the road is not to bad either.


West Coast NP is really a gem and the scenery along the Langebaan lagoon was just too good even in a cloudy morning. I think on a hot September day this place would be a spectacular sight to behold !


So let me now try posting some pics !! This is the tricky bit !!


Let me start with this pic which I really liked because of the foreboding sky and interesting geology.





Interesting geology along the shores of Langebaan lagoon by Desi DNA, on Flickr



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Finally, my friend! I was waiting for a long time to read your trip report ...

Your opening post and the attached photo (very nice and "atmospheric" one) are worth waiting for. Now I am looking forward to read the rest of those long, detailed and often funny articles.

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Hurrah! Another trip report on this fascinating area looking forward to hearing your report.Will it be calm and serene given your name @@Chakra ?

Edited by Towlersonsafari
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Thank you for posting this - I look forward to reading the rest of it and enjoying your photos

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Finally, my friend! I was waiting for a long time to read your trip report ...

Your opening post and the attached photo (very nice and "atmospheric" one) are worth waiting for. Now I am looking forward to read the rest of those long, detailed and often funny articles.



The King Protea by Desi DNA, on Flickr


This is for you my friend : Mr Xelas. The King Protea from the land of Proteas.


Towlersonsafari : sadly despite my name suggesting a calm, serene disposition, that can't be farther from the truth. But I do agree with you about this fascinating area of South Africa and I hope you'll like my rambling.


TonyQ : sometimes I get carried away with my creative juice overflowing, so please feel free to rein me in.


For some reason the Flickr and this site are refusing to communicate to each other. As soon as I sort that out I'll be back.



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If the first two photographs accompanying the start of your trip report are anything to go by, this will be something to look forward to over the next days. Please, don't let yourself be reined in... :)

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If the first two photographs accompanying the start of your trip report are anything to go by, this will be something to look forward to over the next days. Please, don't let yourself be reined in... :)


Thanks Peter. It is most frustrating when the audience is waiting for me to perform but the stage curtain refuses to go up !!

Technology is great when it works. Now trying different web browsers. :(

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OK , looks like the bug has been zapped !!


Firefox to the rescue !!


Let me focus on the Langebaan lagoon first , which kept on surprising me with its change of colour with sun and shade. On the way to the Postberg section it was cloudy and the lagoon looked dark and foreboding , but by the afternoon the sun had come out and it looked invitingly turquoise green.

I loved the house boats in the water.

One of my friends will be staying there this summer near the Jo-Anne's beach cottages and I am sure she would have a fab time.

On the way back there is one certain view point named Seeberg point which gives a wide view of the whole lagoon.


My eldest daughter never lets the opportunity to lecture me slip and she was genuinely impressed with the "Tombolo" rock formation. So I also learnt about Tombolo !! Apparently the photo I had posted above is a Tombolo.


So here is a Pano and the House boats


24210996325_29ae9d7d75_b.jpgLangebaan lagoon by Desi DNA, on Flickr


From Postberg section one can see the Jutten island and other towns in distance




Jutten island by Desi DNA, on Flickr





From the elevated Seeberg point


24126559831_942e81a033_b.jpgLangabean Lagoon from Seeberg view point by Desi DNA, on Flickr


On the way back I saw some white dots. What were those ? I had not seen them on the way in. Looks like some flamingos had appeared out of nowhere . Lovely !!


23581032794_58f8b00245_b.jpgFlamingos by Desi DNA, on Flickr





And there is even a beach with waves tall enough to surf !!



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As we approached the gate there was a lady who had some laminated pages on her hand with coloured pics of flora and fauna of the park. She explained the route to us nicely, including where we could get out of the car. Those laminated pages were for the tourists to buy. I think she was a volunteer. Initially I was not that keen and told her that I'd buy on my return. On the way back I was so happy that I felt I should contribute towards the upkeep of the park and actually bought a couple. The lady was so surprised. Apparently I was the only one who had ever bought anything from her on the way out !!

One can see the carpets soon after entering the park, mostly to your right. There is only one road for about a mile. Fairly straight road, well sign posted and the map is also easy to follow. We had decided to spend about 3 -4 hours inside the park. Sadly it was still cloudy and I could see the daisies were a bit shy. But gradually it was warming up and thankfully no rain predicted.

I think this place would be absolutely stunning in September. What I liked was the mixture of colours like the Hantam Botanical garden.
There are quite a few wildlife there but you need a fairly long zoom to capture the details.

And I did find some Bonteboks !! We had seen some ostritches in the Cape peninsula against the ocean which loked absolutely stunning . One of my friends told me that she had seen Bonteboks in the Cape against the ocean and I was pretty jealous.


So here are some photos from the car on the way to Postberg section with a number of animals. It was quite unique to see the antelopes and zebras in the flower meadow.


I have to say I was quite pleased with the capture of Elands grazing in the flower meadow. That looks majestic.



The first glimpse to your right. The flowers are not in full bloom in late August, need to return in September.






Here comes General Franco !!


















Here comes the Elands !! Now, is it the Eland or is it the Kudu : which one is the biggest antelope in South Africa ?


I was waiting for a while for him to look up and he obliged at long last. 600 mm fully extended. And an Egret thrown in for a bonus !











No big predators in this area so all the Elands are happily munching away my beautiful flowers.





I love seeing animals in a different environment. I have seen antelopes plenty, but mostly in the savannah of grass , so nice to see in the middle of the flowers.


Now enough of antelopes and flowers. How about a bird ? A really Big Bird ?






And this is what I mean when I say Out of Place !!



Edited by Chakra
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Ha, those ostriches must have a real problem to find the place to hide there head :D . And Generalissimo might not be very happy with the choice of the bird to represent him in the alter life ...

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Ha, those ostriches must have a real problem to find the place to hide there head :D . And Generalissimo might not be very happy with the choice of the bird to represent him in the alter life ...


They will go and hide their heads in the Atlantic ocean.

The francolin was surprisingly bold and not too bothered about us. So named him general.

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Great pics! We were there last year (Sept 1st + 2nd), and the flowers were absolutely amazing! We loved it so much the 1st day, that we returned the next :)

Nice eland close-ups, mine are all in a distance as they were far away, and I only had a 300mm. Can't wait to see more.

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@@Chakra Welcome to ST! glad other members convinced you to come on board because, your photos are stunning. they are showing a softer and more colourful side of South Africa, and you've just raised the smaller parks up our lists, if those beautiful wildflower landscapes are anything to go by.


I simply love the first shot in your post #9 and of the giant elands relaxed amid the flowers. what a floral gift.

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Thanks xyz99, It is indeed a very nice place and a short drive from Cape Town , especially if you are staying at Northern suburbs. But I agree the animals are a bit too far off.


Thanks very much Kitsafari. I'd very much like to raise the profile of this region among fellow travellers as I feel South Africa has so much more to offer in addition to the Big Five. I love peace, solitude and desolate places and South Africa has many of them. I'd love to return to Karoo one day.

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If Elands are here can Bonteboks be far behind ? Here they are. Saw quite a few including a little one.


The Three Muskateers : Athos, Porthos and Aramis





And D'Artagnan. The Romantic One






I got your back, Dude






The Family





Sometimes the widlife decided to cross our path. Tortoises are slow ? Totally false. Or perhaps this was one turbo charged tortoise ,high on Speed ! Like the movie Turbo the Snail. He was too close for my already extended long zoom lens. By the time I had managed to bring the zoom down he was almost gone.


Mr Skilpad the "Not So Slow"






Unusual Rock Formation


The Fingers : as we approached the Postberg Section





As we approached the Postberg section I could see the cloud cover was preventing the daisies froom opening their faces fully. But my trusted yr.no weather site predicted reasonable sunshine in the afternoon so I was still heopeful.






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Thanks friends for your appreciations.


After shooting those Elands and Bonteboks I proceeded towards the Postberg section. It was already midday and I decided that it would be very difficult to fit everything in the time frame and I would have to drop some of the routes. Shame but what could I do ?

During flower season West Coast NP open several trails and some of teh trails like the 3 day hike Steenbok trail get rave reviews and the 2 day Postberg section must also be very nice to hike among flowers.

Postberg area had a number of different coloured flowers and the sun was slowly coming out so I was getting more hopeful. Sadly during our stay the sun played hide and seek and the flowers also did not show their full faces.















Trail through Postberg section
One very keen photographer. I had never realised my scalp hair had thinned so much !!
Time to head back. Lovely drive and the views when sun came out


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Chak, you should wear a hat! That sun is very deceptive when hidden behind the clouds. On the other side, colours are much nicer under the cloudy skies, just needed to turn the WB to cloudy.

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Chak, you should wear a hat! That sun is very deceptive when hidden behind the clouds. On the other side, colours are much nicer under the cloudy skies, just needed to turn the WB to cloudy.

It was more like anorak, balaclava and woolen hat weather ! But I agree; the protection offerd by my hair is rapidly evaporating :D :D


Time to say Good Bye to West Coast NP and move towards Citrusdal. I decided that we had seen plenty and there was no need to stop in other places like Saldanha to see patches of flowers.

On the way back I decided to stop at the restaurant near the Seeberg point and have a quick meal. But two bus loads of tourists arrived at the same time and the restaurant seemed to be a bit overwhelmed. So we just picked up some chips and cakes and decided to explore the area a little bit.

Lunch has never been my priority when spending time with Mother Nature.

It was lovely to see how the sun and shadows changed the colour of the lagoon. There was a stage for wedding ceremonies and we thought about renewing our vows !!

I did walk to the Bird Hide but sadly didn't spot any otherthan a couple of lapwings and there was no time to linger.


On the way out had to stop for a tortoise crossing the road !! Unlike his cousin Speedy Gonzales in the flower bush this guy took his time. He was totally oblivious of the traffic, which thankfully was not heavy at akk. My daughters decided it was teenage mutant Ninja Turtle with superpower.


Then left the coast towards Veddriff, via Picketberg on to Citrusdal . We did see flower patches in these small towns


I was very impressed with the roads of South Africa. Slowly the Cedarberg mountains loomed I nto the view and the Orange Orchards also appeared.


Around 6 PM we reached our little piece of heaven at Petersfieldfarm Cottage at Citrusdal.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in disguise





Blushing Bride !! Definitely not again !





Eco bunnies




Road to Cedarberg



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beautiful sceneries and beautiful bonteboks! i made it a quest to look for bonteboks when i decided to stay in Capetown for 3 days last month, and now you've added another place to look for them. :)

Edited by Kitsafari
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beautiful sceneries and beautiful bonteboks! i made it a quest to look for bonteboks when i decided to stay in Capetown for 3 days last month, and now you've added another place to look for them. :)

I wish you luck. You may even manage to catch them against the background of the Atlantic near Cape Point.

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Sometimes you get a positive vibe as soon as you get in touch with someone and John Ross, the owner of the Petersfieldfarm cottage is such a man. Very reasonably priced, no deposit needed ( based on honour system), precise helpful info and a very nice man in person. He even tried to reassure me when I started complaining about rains.
His tip on the police car parked on N7 near Klawer was absolutely spot on and saved me some cash.

There are many other posh places in this area but I just loved this place and his friendly approach. We collected the keys hanging on the reception and proceeded to our fabulous cottage Dasseiklip and crashed onto comfy beds
Next morning I woke up to lovely sunshine but dark clouds were looming in the west. I felt like crying. I had only one day for the Clan William region and the clouds did not look promising.
Any way to take my mind off the flowers I went on a hike among orange orchards, rock formations and distant mountains. It was an invigorating walk. The rock formations in Cedarberg are very intriguing and if I had time I would have visited the Maltese Cross and the Wolberg Arch.
And of course a few birds here and there. Our cottage was next door to a big Masked Weaver colony and their antiques were amusing.
My wife and daughters busied themselves with making orange juice from fresh oranges left by John. Fantastic taste.
I could see that the local daisies were opening but would they keep their faces up ?

So now time for some pics from Petersfield cottages. and the surrounding area.


Road through the Orange Orchards to the cottages




Sun is shining but dark clouds are threatening








So inviting




Lovely walk through orange orchards




Lovely rock formation of Cedarberg




Busy weaver








Extremely fertile valley between Cedraberg mountains , the capital of Orange Growing and of course the great Rooibos tea. Sadly I am not a great fan of Rooibos !!





Busy making fresh orange juice






Making Orange juice is so tiring !!




So will the clouds part and flowers show their faces to me ? I have been waiting for nearly two years !!

Edited by Chakra
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The approach road photo ... phew, you nailed it!

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So here comes one of the most important days of this trip. Countless hours spent on planning, checking weather, familiarising with SA flora, praying to God for timely rain and now travelling through the flower capital of Clan William.
Dodged the police car successfully at Klawer. But could not dodge the clouds hovering over Giffberg mountain spreading over Clan William. I started calling various tourist offices including the Flower Hotline. Yes they do have Flower Hotlines.

I have to say that I was pretty disappointed with the WC Flower Hotline. All I could do was to leave message and they would get back to me. Never happened !

Most other tourist offices were helpful but they really could not provide a great deal of direction. The lady at Clan William clearly said that there was no point in travelling through CW as it was very cloudy. Tourist ofices at Garies, Van rhynsdorp and Loreisfontein said they had lots of flower but weather did not look good.

I was unable to book the Skilpad Sanparks cottages and Kamieskroon was my next destination. I had read reports about flower patches by N7 on the way to Kamieskroon so that was the last option.
It was about 10-30 by this time, my wife driving along N 7 and me calling various people and checking weather forecasts every 5 minutes.

I am a great fan of the Yr.no website when it comes to weather prediction. When it comes to same day prediction within 6 hours it is almost infallible. And promisinglt Yr.no showed sun coming out over the other side of the valley at Nieutdville, Calvinia and Gannabos around 1 pm and the farther east I could go, the better was the sunshine.
So instead of heading North, we decided to turn right from N 7 across the valley , over the VanRhynsdorp pass towards Calvinia. This was a massive gamble as it was a big detour that I was not planning.
But this also had the added attraction of the Quiver Tree forest at Gannabos.
But as soon as I turned right I felt better. The sun was trying to break through, the road was a superb drive with very little traffic and the Cape daisies started showing their faces.
I would strongly recommend this drive towards Calvinia over the pass through Van Rhynsdorp to everyone. And when you have reached the top, you need to stop and look back over the valley towards the Giffberg massif, which I felt was equally impressive as the Table Mountain.
So here are some photos of that drive:


Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy of Flowers




I spent a lot of time in this posture exposing my scalp to UV !!




The Pano.I wished there was no fence and I could walk.





The very impresive Giffberg mountain





Taken from moving car so not a great pic, but you get the perspective





My favourite view till now. Arrow staright road from the top of Van Rhynsdorp pass. They had conveniently built a shelter there. Open a can and just soak the view.








The views by roadside. Gaps had started to appear in clouds. God is great.













Better than Disneyland !!





Odd Man out




Not daisies , but aloes






The Van Rhynsdorp pass




The Osteospermums





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Really enjoying your report @@Chakra the pass looks splendid!

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Really enjoying your report @@Chakra the pass looks splendid!

Thanks towlersonsafari. This region was last year nominated as one of the top ten hidden jewels of South Africa. I'm glad that you liked it.

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