PAMELA COOPER enjoys the Cape’s West Coast daisies in words and images
Every year I look at the photos of the West Coast flowers and think, ‘I must go and see them’. Of course, nothing happens unless you make it happen, so a friend who shares this sentiment checked the weather report (seldom correct, so who knows why) and yesterday we set off for the West Coast National Park and Postberg Reserve near Langebaan.
No warning was given about coastal fog and we left Cape Town in the gloom, reassuring ourselves it would burn off in no time and the flowers don’t open before 11 anyway.
We stopped at a number of roadside farm stalls and diverted to the coast at Yzerfontein, where the fogbank obscured the view, but the verges and gardens in the town were quite spectacular.
A quick visit to the Padstal at the turnoff revealed that the company you’re in colours your viewpoint so I didn’t enjoy the large aviaries of exotic parrots and macaws as much as last time. It is sad to see them in captivity, but there they are and cannot return to their habitat.
Arriving at the park, we were pleased to find only a few cars at the gate and were soon on our way, seeking the fields of blazing colour. It took a while, as the low scrub hides most of the flowers and previously cultivated land or more barren areas produce the best displays. Wonderful mass blooming covered the slopes of the granite outcrop near Langebaan where the firewatcher’s hut is, and the panoramic views from the top across the lagoon are magnificent. The hut contains information boards full of interesting facts on the archaeological history of the area, and a visit to the West Coast Fossil Park near Langebaan is a must.
After a satisfying and traditional denningvleis pie and Malay chicken curry under the trees at Geelbek, the restored Cape Dutch homestead, it was time to brave the fog and see what could be seen at Postberg. What a wondrous sight met us at the end of a long drive along this ancient outcropping – miles of white, orange and blue flowers dancing in the breeze, opening their petals to welcome thousands of bees. The scent from these millions of flowers wafted in the air as if a giant pot of honey had been opened. No wonder the bees were so busy!
Heading back to Cape Town, a few kilometres down the road from the park we saw about a dozen giraffes browsing on a hillside, the trees a little low for their necks and maybe not quite what they are used to. Rather inapt name on the gate, Buffelsfontein. It is a private game reserve and looks well worth a visit.
Another trip to the Darling area will have to be made in a few weeks’ time when the bulbs come into their own in myriad forms and colours. Be sure not to miss a thing!