August 25 – 30, 2019
Guided by Jim Heck
Wild flowers are special and unique everywhere in the world. But nowhere else in the world has the spectacular profusion of flowers of Cape Town!
The Cape is the smallest of the seven floral kingdoms of the world, but it is certainly boldest and most robust. The special ecology that gives rise to the fynbos (which you probably know as Rooibos or Red Bush Tea) also creates this spectacle of endless color.
Just feast your senses on these endless fields!
This itinerary could change after the wild flower season of 2018 ends and is reviewed.
This trip is a stunning pretour to Jim’s 2019 South Africa Tour.
Very Important Note: Like everywhere in the world wild flowers depend upon weather, in particular: spring rains. In a normal year the rains begin in August and continue through September. Unfortunately, you must commit to this tour and pay for it in full before anyone will know for sure that sufficient rain will fall to produce a normally explosive wild flower season.
|Price||Single Supplement||under 12||12-16||local air|
The prices include:
** Jim Heck guiding the safari from start to finish;
** Professionally-trained, English-speaking driver/guides with each vehicle;
** Meals as detailed in brackets following each day's description below;
** All park entrance fees, VAT and other government taxes;
** Comprehensive pre-trip material.
Additional expenses not included:
- Meals not included;
- Some beverages;
- All international, regional and local scheduled flights;
- Requisite visas and other travel preparations like inoculations;
- Tipping (Jim Heck does not accept tips).
Whenever you arrive in Cape Town you’ll be personally met and privately escorted to the Victoria and Alfred Hotel on the Waterfront. Everything you could possibly want is just outside the hotel: the city’s finest restaurants, shops and cinemas![no-meals]
Hardly an hour up the rugged and beautiful Atlantic Coast is one of South Africans' most favorite national parks, the West Coast National Park. It's a beautiful peninsula that stretches out into the sea loved by hikers and bikers alike, but during the flower season this park becomes very special. A smaller section of it, the Postberg Flower Reserve, is kept closed by authorities for ten months of the year and opened only after the spring rains in August and September, because here are some of the most spectacular and rarest of the world's wild flowers. All across the entire national park are scattered healthy groups of springbok, bontebok and other antelope as well. We'll continue to the famous resort of Saldanha for overnight at the Blue Bay Lodge.
We hug the beautiful, rugged Atlantic coast for about another hour before turning inland towards the Cedarburg Mountains. The scenery is wonderful and the landscape of flowers is superb. Our guide will give us a special tour of the Ramskop Nature Reserve where the flowers are usually spectacular! The 160-acre reserve contains more than 350 species of wildflowers. Many of them have actually been replanted from other parts of the Karoo and Namaqualand, so it's the most complete example of the area's floral array. From here we visit the Rooibos Tea House. Rooibos, which is more commonly known in the States as Red Bush Tea, is entirely endemic to this area, and South Africans believe it will cure anything! In the afternoon we travel to the very edge of the Great Karoo, South Africa's Mojave desert which occupies a huge portion of the land between The Cape and Orange Free State. Overnight at the Papkuilsfontein Farm.
The day is spent exploring this area starting with an early morning coffee in the Quiver Tree Forest followed by a visit to the Nieuwoudtville waterfall (spectacular at this time of the year if rains in the area have been good!) Lunch stop at the Dutch Reformed Church bazaar before a guided walk around the Hantam Botanical Gardens. This enormous flower reserve, first brought to world attention by Sir David Attenborough, is rated by London's Kews Botanical Garden as one of the greatest on earth. The nearly 15,000 acres of protected flower prairies include almost every area wildflower species plus a number of rare succulent and fynbos plants. Towards the end of the day we continue an hour's journey along the edge of the Karoo into a more and more remote area which is where South Africa's satellite technology is located, because of the completely unimpaired night skies. Overnight on a farm at the edge of the Karoo in farm-stay accommodation.[b-l-d]
This morning we slowly continue south along the Karoo where fields are saturated with wild flowers. At Matjiesfontein we encounter some deep national history, as major battles of the Anglo-Boer War were fought here. This was a railhead of the earliest of South Africa's trains, and prominent people like Winston Churchill regularly came here for its reported "magical" spa treatments. Interestingly, this is the first stop on the tour's Rovos Rail journey from The Cape, although train participants will get only a sliver of the scenery and fascinating history of the area that you will. We then continue just outside the town to where the flowers explode again, for our overnight at the Laings Lodge.[b-l]
A few hours this morning for the last great glimpses of some of the endless fields of flowers before we turn back to the city, arriving in Cape Town in the early afternoon to join Jim's South Africa Tour.[b]