flowers The wild flowers of the Cederberg are some of the finest in the world. The Cederberg doesn’t just have the vast carpets of flowers which adorn the coffee table books. It also has the largest variety of wild flower species, many growing nowhere else in the world. This is due to the different topography, from the dry Karoo-like landscapes through to the wetter vlei areas of the Oliphants River and the Sandveld en route to Lamberts Bay.
You can enjoy the flowers in many different ways. Take a self-drive tour to the best areas. Our information office and our blog (see news panel) will give you helpful advice. Enjoy a flower tour on a farm such as Elandsberg Eco-reserve; visit the Ramskop Nature Reserve and botanical garden and see the Clanwilliam Flower Show if you are here in late August.
The Cederberg receives little rain throughout the year but after winter rains, the landscape erupts in colourful glory with vibrant swathes of gousblomme and vygies. The broad spring flower season begins in late July and lasts through September. The flower ‘carpets’ tend to peak during August but flowering fynbos species continue through September into October. Certain species are found nowhere else in the world such as the yellow Leucospermum reflexum, the Snow Protea (protea cryophylla), blue Lachanaea filamentosa, yellow sparaxis, pink Cyanella alba and the Clanwilliam Cedar (widdringtonia cedarbergensis).
These wild flower wonders include Geel Perdekop, Sneeuprotea, Blou Bergaster, Cederboom, Rooibos, Geel Botterblom, Boegoe and Pienk Handjie.
Every year visitors with a love and appreciation of the beauty of wild flowers are drawn back to blossoming Clanwilliam, indisputably the first must-see of the floral fantasyland that the Cederberg becomes.
Tips for Viewing Flowers
There are some useful tips for flower-viewing that will help you get the most out of a visit to the Cederberg.
• Visit the local tourism office before you head out as they have up to date information about where to find the best flowers, and weather forecasts for the various flower routes.
• The flowers are at their best between 11am and 4pm in the afternoon so there is no need to rush out straight after breakfast, (unless you have some travelling to do before you get to the flower region).
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• The flowers will not come out in heavily overcast or rainy weather so you should plan to visit other Cedeberg sights on such days. There is a lot of interest in the Cederberg from walking, to rock art to wine-tasting.
• As the flowers also face the sun, the flower displays are noticeably better if you travel with the sun behind you so that the flowers are facing you. So when planning your daily route, try to travel in a westerly direction in the morning, southerly during the day and turn east in the afternoon.
• Get out of your car and walk amongst the flowers - you will appreciate them so much more!
• Unfortunately if it is raining or misty, then most of the flowers will remain closed due to the cold.
Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show
The Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show has become a standing tradition for flower fanatics since its inception in 1972. Every year about 400 species from 38 flower families are displayed in the Flower Church at the Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show every year at the end of August.
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(See our events calendar for exact dates.) The exhibition illustrates the natural beauty of the region through reconstructed landscapes featuring the plants and wild flowers from the Cederberg. Here you can view all the flowers of the region with their botanical, as well as their descriptive tongue-twisting local names. Instead of gathering masses of flowers we rather accentuate the wide variety of the Cederberg flowers. Recommended!
Ramskop Nature Reserve
Visitors to the Ramskop Nature Reserve, overlooking the beautiful Clanwilliam Dam, will appreciate the metamorphosis it has recently undergone and can look forward to various new succulent and water-rich plant displays.
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A medicinal plant section has also been planted. There is a tea garden available laden with a variety of delicacies to provide sustenance for plant-lovers and a scenic footpath to meander along with stunning views of the lovely Clanwilliam dam. An effort is being made by Ramskop Wild Flower Garden to expand the garden to include flora of the Knersvlakte, Richtersveld and Boesmanland i.e. the whole area up to Springbok. Ramskop Wild Flower Garden also aims to educate the public about conservation matters, as well as become the gateway to the Namaqualand flower region and offer visitors a place to view all the wild flower species of the season in one place.
Flowers throughout the year
The best time to see the flowers? All year! Well almost. High summer is dry but still more than a handful of plants are in flower. From the end of March it is the time for the lilies – the reds, pinks and whites of Haemanthus, Brunsviggia, Amaryllis, Crimium, Nerine. Then the rains come, and within three weeks the shrubs emerge in their Sunday best; the tortoise berry, wild rosemary, buchus… a procession in pastel.
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But come spring and the veld explodes in form, texture and colour as thousands of flowers compete for pollinators.
Elandsberg farm offers guided flower safaris, as well as rooibos farm safaris throughout the year. Enjoy the informal demonstrations and explanations of some of the astonishing miracles of plant life. Contact Elandsberg on 027 482 2022.
Clanwilliam Cedar Tree
The indigenous Clanwilliam Cedar tree, (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis), belongs to the cypress family and is an endangered species. They grow only in an area of about 250 square km in the high Cederberg mountains (between 800 m and 2000 m) either alone or in small scattered groups. They used to occur in large numbers in the mountains, but many were cut down for their fragrant timber.
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Many more were destroyed in frequent veld fires. The trees found today are about 5-7m tall, but can grow up to 20m in protected and inaccessible places. The wood of the Cedar tree is light yellow, resinous, fragrant and long-lasting. It was used in the Churches and the Courthouse in Clanwilliam and was extensively used in the manufacture of furniture. A planting programme has recently been initiated in the Heuningvlei area of the northern Cederberg. Thousands of nursery grown saplings are grown from seed and planted in the wild.