Good grief! I haven’t blogged in almost 2 months – very remiss of me. Winter depresses me, I am not inspired, I sit behind my computer planning for summer and occasionally staring out of the window at the miserable weather, wondering if it will ever be warm again. In typical Cape Town manner it does warm up for a few days, lulls me into thinking summer is back and then it freezes up again. Like today.
But it is officially Spring so a trip to ‘the flowers’ was in order this week, despite reports that this year they are not putting on a good show.
Speak to anyone in Cape Town about ‘the flowers’ and they know you’re referring to the fabulous spring flower display of the West Coast. This is when the arid desert of Namaqualand bursts into endless displays of little flowers that have been hibernating – some of them even save their seeds for several years to ensure there is always life. From all parts of the country, and the world, flower-lovers make the annual pilgrimage to see this miracle. It’s a long drive from the nearest city but it’s worth it to see carpets of flowers as far as the eye can see. The tricky part is to time it well because as beautiful as Spring is in this region, it seldom arrives on schedule. Autumn and Spring don’t really follow man’s expectations in South Africa so one can easily plan and book accommodation, only to find the flowers were better last week or will be next week.
Closer to Cape Town is the West Coast National Park. It’s only an hour away and I love this reserve for its diversity. The flowers are a mixed bunch as opposed to the same type for miles, and there is also game and lots of water. A perfect mix, in my opinion.
My new friend Sheila and I spent a day this week meandering through the reserve. We even did the touristy thing of ticking off every animal species we saw. We didn’t have lunch at Geelbek (as one normally does) but we stopped and ate rolls and other goodies whenever we were hungry. We had an Incident with a Falling Tripod, we rescued a puff adder that was in danger of being run over on the road, we were thrilled to have kudus running across the road in front of us, and we lost count of the many tortoises we saw ‘dashing’ across the road. We also contributed heavily to the Bovril Project. Bovril is a bit like the gnome in Amelie in that he gets to travel to interesting places and have his photo taken for a dedicated Facebook page. All in all we had a fabulous day, despite the fact that the flowers are, as reported, extremely poor this year. Perhaps they’re late but one thing is certain, they’ll be better next year!
Read about the park here and look at photos showing what the flowers are supposed to look like.