Package Tour - Botanical & Spring flower Safari
Friday 5th to Thursday 11th September 2014 - We start in Cape Town with the smallest floral Kingdom in the world. (The Cape Floral Kingdom). After spending a day at the Cape of Good Hope with its local flora - fynbos, we then visit the famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. We then set off for Namaqualand and the spring flowers. We go to some of the most beautiful wilderness areas of the Western Cape in pursuit of the birds, wild flowers and wildlife of the area. We also visit many Flower Reserves, Botanical Gardens and Nature Reserves along the way.
At a Glance
Day 1: Cape Town
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.
We will spend a leisurely day experiencing the rugged beauty of the Peninsula with its spectacular coastline and diverse fauna & flora. From Simon's Town and the African Penguin colony we hug the False Bay coastline to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. This reserve was proclaimed in 1936 to preserve the indigenous flora of the Cape Peninsula, the 7,750 ha reserve has as many plant species as there are in the whole of Great Britain. The fauna of the reserve includes eland, Zebra, Bontebok, Rhebok, Baboons and many smaller mammals and reptiles. There are also over 250 recorded bird species in the reserve. We will go for a botanical walk through the reserve, where we will be studying, identifying, photographing and marveling at this floral wonder.
At Cape Point, you can take a short walk or a funicular ride to the old lighthouse, from where the panoramic views encompass the whole of False Bay and the Boland Mountains beyond. Two great ocean currents - the warm fast flowing Agulhas from the Equator and the slower moving Benguela from the Antarctic - meet off Cape Point. This, with the prevailing winds, strong ocean currents, reefs and submerged rocks have proved too hazardous for at least 22 ships. There are signs of wreckage from many unidentified smaller boats along this coast. After visiting Cape Point and the southern tip of the Peninsula.
Overnight: Cape Peninsula
Day 2: Cape Town to Langebaan
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens & Tienie Versveld Flora Reserve.
We make our way to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens via the old Cape road over the Silvermine Nature Reserve mountains. Kirstenbosch must surely be one of the finest Botanical Gardens in the world. Situated on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, the gardens cover 560 hectors of land, stretching up the mountain to its highest point - Maclear's Beacon. The cultivated gardens, where staff cultivate approximately 4,000 of the 22 000 southern African flowering plants, are in a setting of mountain streams, pools and rolling lawns. The land was a bequest from Cecil John Rhodes, who had bought it in 1895. Remains of Jan van Riebeeck's wild almond hedge around the first Dutch settlement can still be seen in the gardens. The grounds also contain the Compton Herbarium, a nursery, and a gift shop.
After lunch we will drive to Langebaan Lagoon via the Tienie Versveld Flora Reserve at Darling. This small botanical reserve is particularly noted for its bulbous plants of the Gladiolus, Babiana and Lachenalia families. If we have time we will also visit the Waylands Flower Reserve. This 80 ha flower reserve at Waylands is a typical representative of the Lowland Fynbos biome. Estimated to contain approximately 300 species of flowering plants, it has always been managed to maintain and promote the wild flowers.
Day 3: Langebaan
West Coast National Park & the Postberg Flower Reserve: We will be driving slowly through the West Coast National Park stopping here and there to see what is flowering. The reserve also has many mammal species and is a internationally recognised bird wetland site. After a picnic lunch we will be driving around the lagoon to the Postberg Flower Reserve, which is only open to the public for two months of the year in Spring. The spring flowers of the Western Cape have a worldwide reputation. The area receives little rain throughout the year but after our winter rains, the landscape is swathed with a vibrant carpet of flowers. We will be able to see this natural floral display at the Postberg Flower Reserve.
Day 4: Langebaan to Cederberg
We will be taking the coastal route up to Bird Island at Lambert's Bay, visiting the wetlands of the lower Berg River, Rocherpan Nature Reserve, Verlorenvlei wetland & Wadrif salt pan en route. Lambert's Bay is a small town with an attractive harbour that plays a large role in South Africa's fishing industry. Here we can view the Cape Gannet Colony, as well as Terns, Cormorants and Penguins from very close quarters. We will then drive to the Cederberg Mountains, once the hunting ground of the Bushmen (San). Though the San no longer live in the area, they have left a fascinating collection of rock art.
We will be stopping here and there to see what wild flowers are flowering. The Ramskop Wild Flower Garden in Clanwilliam contains a variety of more than 350 species of cultivated wild flowers. The walks on the laid-out paths through the garden also offer a beautiful view over the Clanwilliam Dam and of the Cederberg Mountains.
Day 5: Clanwilliam
Namaqualand Spring flowers - We will be taking a full day, circular drive. We will leave Clanwilliam and head north, the route will depend on where the best Namaqualand flowers are at the time.
Day 6: Clanwilliam to Hermanus
Karoo National Botanical Gardens: We will have an early breakfast before heading for the Karoo town of Worcester, where we will have a leisurely walk around the Karoo National Botanical Gardens. These gardens specialize in the succulents and hardy plants of the Karoo.
After a picnic lunch we head for Hermanus 'The Whale watching capital of the Cape'. Hermanus has gained world recognition for its excellent land based whale watching. During our Spring months (August to November) the Southern Right Whales use the South Western Cape coastline as a safe haven in which to calve.
Day 7: Hermanus to Cape Town
Fernkloof Nature Reserve / Harold Porter Botanical Gardens - There are a number of Botanical Gardens and Nature Reserves in the Hermanus area, which play host to the most diverse and densest concentrations of endemic flora in the Western Cape. Fernkloof Nature Reserve covers 1800 ha in the Kleinrivier Mountains above Hermanus and ranges in altitude from sea level to 842 m. There is no other place on earth where so many different species can be seen growing in such close proximity. In Fernkloof 1474 species have thus far been collected and identified.
After lunch we head out of Hermanus along the South Coast road through the craggy mountain scenery of the Hottentot's Holland Mountains. We will have a walk around the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens at Betty's Bay. Our walk around these gardens, with its rich fynbos flora will afford us many new plant species. We arrive back in Cape Town in the late afternoon.