In Cape Town, spring season is flower season! Every spring, from mid-August till end-September, the Western Cape comes to life as it transforms into a wildflower wonderland. The Cape Town landscapes is scattered with beautifully coloured blooms that stretch as far as the eye can see. The glorious and vivid colours of the Cape Wildflowers last until the deadly summer heat descends and turn the hills into plain brown fields.
The wild unapologetic natural beauty of the Mother City’s flower season has people travelling from all around the world to witness Cape Town in full bloom. On a clear, sunny day, you can drive a short distance out of Cape Town city centre to be mesmerized by nature’s own art gallery. The following are a few of the best spots around the city to go hunt for the very best views of the Cape wildflowers in full bloom. On an overcast day, the flowers will hide their pretty faces, so best to travel when the sun is out.
*Disclosure: This article was last updated 24/08/2020 and is subject to change.
#1 Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Distance: about 20 minutes from the city centre
This is the easiest option to see the flowers. Nestled against the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain, this amazing botanical garden will take your breath away. The 36-hectare garden is the first in the world that is specifically dedicated to indigenous flora.
It is also ranked no. 6 on National Geographic’s list of Top 10 Picnic Spots in the world. Take in the splendour of pincushion proteas, Daisies, and of course the famous fynbos. Hike up to the Boomslang to view the spring display from a higher vantage point.
- Entry fee: Adults: R75 | South African Students (with student card): R40 | Scholars/Learners (6 – 17 years): R20 | Children under 6 years: Free | BotSoc members (with membership card): Free | South African Senior Citizens (with ID): Free on Tuesdays except on public holidays
#2 Postberg And West Coast National Park
Distance: about 1 hour and 50 minutes
The West Coast National Park is a popular destination every year for flower hunters. During the peak flower months of August and September, the Postberg area is open for the most amazing undisturbed floral display. You will be greeted by magriets, sporries, and Daisies.
While driving through the park, look out for tortoises and snakes crossing the road, plus zebra and buck lazily grazing. You can explore the area by car, on foot, or with a mountain bike.
- Fun fact: walk in the footsteps of Eve, a young woman reported to have lived in the area 117 000 years ago. The Eve’s Trail is a special two-and-a-half-day hike meandering through the park.
- Entry fee: Daily Conservation Fees for 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020: South African Citizens and Residents (with ID): R64 per adult, per day; R32 per child, per day | SADC Nationals (with passport): R96 per adult, per day; R48 per child, per day | Standard Conservation Fee: R96 per adult, per day; R48 per child, per day.
#3 The Renosterveld Reserve
Distance: Around 1 hour
This area you can explore for free. It is located above the Darling Primary School. The 20-hectare flower reserve offers you endless fields of spring flowers including vygies, kapokbos, bellendini, and renosterbos. Keep an eye out for the cute little red-bellied tortoises. It’s also a great spot for bird-watching.
There is a circular hiking route that you can follow around the reserve.
- Fun fact: The Versveld family donated the land to the community in 1958.
- Entry fee: Free.
#4 Tienie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve
Distance: about 1 hour and 10 minutes
You can also stop at this reserve for free. It’s located on the R315 on the way to Darling. The varying topography makes it perfect for a wide range of flowers. You can see about 10% of the Cape Floral Kingdom in one go here. Enjoy the beautiful chincherinchee, lachenalia, and Butterfly lilies.
The area is also great for game-spotting, bird-watching, hiking, and picnics.
- Fun fact: the reserve was named after Oom Tienie or Marthinus Versveld who donated a part of his farm to create the reserve.
- Entry fee: Free.
#5 Harold Porter Botanical Garden
Distance: about 1 hour and 30 minutes
This one is located on the side of the Cape Town coastline, towards Hermanus. Travel on the N2 and take the R44 to find this mesmerizing garden. Tucked away between mountains and the beach, it has stunning little waterfalls and pools to explore. Perfect for a leisurely Saturday or Sunday outing!
Fun zigzag paths were created by the garden’s namesake, Harold Porter. The expansive garden has all things indigenous to marvel at including orchids, daisies, and stunning proteas. While you’re in the area, stop at the penguin colony close by. If you’re lucky you might also spot a whale.
- Entry fee: Adults (18 -59 years): R30 | Seniors ( 60 years plus): R20 |Students (with valid cards): R20 | Learner (Gr.1 – Gr.12): R12 | Children (under 6 years): Free | SA Botanical Society members: Free (except for special events).
#6 Namaqualand National Park
- Distance from Cape Town: ± 530 km | approximately 6 hours 45 minutes
If you’re looking to go on an adventure-filled Cape wildflower roadtrip, you could drive as far north as Namaqualand National Park to see the famed Namaqualand daisies. Every spring the landscapes of the Namaqualand National Park undergoes a stunning transformation from semi-arid scrubland to colourful, vibrant carpets of wildflowers.
Visitors to the Namaqualand National Park can look forward to a glorious diversity of fauna and flora as this natural gem boasts more than 3,000 different species of plants, a third of which are totally endemic to the region.
- Other activities: Besides witnessing the beautiful Cape wildflowers in full bloom, the Namaqualand National Park is known for its incredible range of hiking, walking and mountain biking trails. It is also an amazing bird watching destination and is home to a variety of Cape wildlife. Make sure you keep a look-out for the Namaqualand speckled “padloper”, the world’s smallest species of tortoise!
- Entry fee: Daily Conservation fees for 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020: South African Citizens and Residents (with ID): R46 per adult, per day; R23 per child, per day | SADC Nationals (with passport): R92 per adult, per day; R46 per child, per day | Standard Conservation Fee: R92 per adult, per day; R46 per child, per day
- More information: Phone 027 672 1948 or visit the Namaqua National Park website
- Distance from Cape Town: ± 180 km | approximately 2 hours
Located along the famed Cape Flower Route, Citrusdal is widely known as the centre for South Africa’s fruit farming industry. However, during Cape Town’s spring season, the landscapes are covered in a glorious display of Cape wildflowers, including fields of maartblom, bloedblom, daises and endemic Cape fynbos.
- Other activities: Thanks to its hot water springs, rock art, zip-lining activities, and location on the Cape Flower Route, Citrusdal is one of the Western Cape’s most popular family holiday destinations. Visitors to Citrusdal can also look forward to hiking, fishing, bird-watching, camping, and various culture and historical attractions.
- Entry fee: Free
- More information: 022 921 3210
#8 Karoo Desert National Botanical Gardens
- Distance from Cape Town: ± 120 km | approximately 1 hour 30 minutes
The Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden is a 154-hectare reserve that sprawls across the foothills of Worcester’s rocky and majestic Hex River Mountain range. As the Karoo Desert National Botanical Gardens is dedicated entirely to indigenous vegetation such as succulents, annuals, and vygies, nature lovers are in for quite a treat. Seeing the desert landscapes of the magnificent Karoo covered in a vibrant carpet of spring wildflowers should definitely be on everyone’s Cape Town spring season bucket-list.
- Other activities: Besides its beautiful display of indigenous flora and fauna, visitors to the Karoo Desert National Botanical Gardens can also enjoy a variety of thrilling hiking trails, tours around the garden, bird-watching and picnicking.
- Entry fee: Admission fees for the high season (1 June – 31 October): Adults: R25 | Students: R15 | Pensioners: R15 | Children under 18: R10
- More Information:Phone 023 347 0785 or visit the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden website
#9 Ramskop Nature Reserve
- Distance from Cape Town: ± 230 km | approximately 2 hours 40 minutes
Besides being one of the best places to see the Cape wildflowers in the Western Cape, Ramskop Nature Reserve boasts a spectacular backdrop of the dramatic Cederberg Mountains, fields of rooibos tea, and orange groves. The 66-hectare reserve has established itself as a top destination to visit for nature lovers. It is home to over 350 species of wildflowers, including daisies, sporries, sugarbos, and proteas, all of which come to life as soon as the Cape Town spring season arrives. Although the Ramskop reserve is only 66 hectares, more than a tenth of this is planted with wildflowers from the entire Namaqualand. As a result, you’ll be able to view flowers here that represent the Knersvlakte, Richtersveld and Boesmanland.
The Ramskop Nature Reserve has a variety of pathways criss-crossing the reserve, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy all its magnificent views over the surrounding landscapes, Cape wildflowers, Clanwilliam’s dam, and the majestic mountain ranges.
- Other activities: Ramskop Nature Reserve is widely known as a top destination for bird-watching, hiking, walking, wildlife viewing and picnicking.
- Entry fee: R26 (adults) | R19 (pensioners) | R9 (children)
- More Information:027 482 8012 or visit the Ramskop Nature Reserve website.
#10 Cape Columbine Nature Reserve
- Distance from Cape Town: ± 155 km | approximately 2 hours
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in a glorious display of Cape wildflowers along the Cape west coast, a visit to the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve should definitely be on your Cape Town spring bucket-list. Covering 263 hectares of wild, rocky coastline and peninsula near Paternoster, the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve is a beautiful coastal habitat that’s home to an abundance of Cape wildflowers, including a variety of Karoo succulents and fynbos.
- Other activities: There is no shortage of things to do, see and experience at the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve. From hiking, kayaking, beach camping, nature walks, diving and cycling to wildlife viewing, bird watching, whale and marine life spotting, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The Cape Columbine Nature Reserve is also home to the country’s very last manned lighthouse (built in 1936).
- Entry fee: Adults: R29.10 | Children: R19.90
- More Information: 022 752 2323 | 022 7522 718
#11 Agulhas National Park
- Distance from Cape Town: ± 224 km | approximately 2 hours 40 minutes
Lying in what is known as the Agulhas Plain at the southernmost tip of Africa, the Agulhas National Park is a sought-after national park located in the southern Overberg region of the Western Cape. While it is renowned for being the meeting place of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the Agulhas National Park is home to some of the most splendid examples of lowland fynbos and lowland fynbos on limestone soils – considered endangered and restricted largely to the southern Overberg.
The Agulhas National park truly is a nature lover’s paradise, boasting over 2000 species of indigenous flora and fauna, including 100 that are endemic to the area. This makes it a must-visit destination during Cape Town’s spring season as all the Cape wildflowers come to life in a glorious celebration of colour.
- Other activities: Other highlights of a visit to the Agulhas National Park include the cairn that marks the southern-most tip of Africa, the lighthouse at Cape Agulhas, and the graveyard of ships that lie just off the coast once known as ‘the Cape of Storms’, where some 250 ships have been wrecked over time. It is also known as one of the best places in the Western Cape for whale and marine life sightings.
- Entry fee: Daily Conservation fees for 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020: South African Citizens and Residents (with ID): R46 per adult, per day; R23 per child, per day | SADC Nationals (with passport): R92 per adult, per day; R46 per child, per day | Standard Conservation Fee: R184 per adult, per day; R92 per child, per day
- More information: Visit the SANPark’s website for more information.
#12 Bontebok National Park
- Distance from Cape Town: ± 224 km | approximately 3 hours
Bontebok National Park is one Western Cape Nature Reserve that should be on every nature and wildlife lover’s bucket-list. The Bontebok National Park boasts the highest density of rare and endangered bird life, fynbos species and animal life in South Africa. It also contains indigenous plant life found nowhere else in the world. The Bontebok National Park is undoubtedly one of the best places to see the Cape wildflowers in full bloom during Cape Town’s vibrant flower season.
- Other activities: Visitors to the Bontebok National Park have access to the lovely Breede River, for angling, canoeing and refreshing swims. Visitors will also be able to enjoy incredible game viewing, birdlife sightings, fishing, and hiking.
- Entry fee: Daily Conservation fees for 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020: South African Citizens and Residents (with ID): R46 per adult, per day; R23 per child, per day | SADC Nationals (with passport): R66 per adult, per day; R33 per child, per day | Standard Conservation Fee: R132 per adult, per day; R66 per child, per day.
- More information: Visit the SANPark’s website for more information.
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