Wild about wildflowers?
Spring in Cape Town welcomes the onset of longer, warmer days and a treasure trove of wildflowers. Every year, in August and September, thousands flock to the Cape West Coast region for this breathtaking natural phenomenon. The journey stretches from Cape Town all the way north to Namaqualand, and inland to areas like the Biedouw Valley. Luckily for Capetonians, the spectacular Biedouw Valley is located near the Northern Cederberg’s Pakhuis Pass and is only a scenic 3-hour drive away. Even luckier, AfriCamps at de Pakhuys, Cederberg is located in the heart of it all, so we’ve got your wildflower accommodation sorted! Gear up for a wildflower expedition from Cape Town to the Biedouw Valley with our nifty wildflower guide.
The blooming Biedouw Valley
Travelling east from Clanwilliam, traverse the remarkable Pakhuis Pass, and you’ll reach the Biedouw Valley enclosed by the Biedouw Mountains to the north and the Tra-Tra Mountains to the south. After the winter rains, a myriad of wildflowers bloom, blanketing the landscape with nemesias, lachenalias, babiana and ixias – or the orange, yellow, white, and blue spring flowers as we know them.
Photo: Clanwilliam Tourism
When to go
Mid-August to mid-September usually presents the most stunning wildflower displays, however flowers can be seen as early as late July, and into October, depending on the winter rains.
Where to stay
Located 30 minutes’ drive from Clanwilliam and nestled amidst vineyards and striking rock formations in the Agter-Pakhuis Valley, AfriCamps at de Pakhuys, Cederberg is the ideal spot for your wildflower adventure. Here, you’re not only observing the wildflowers; you’re staying amidst them. Relax and unwind in your fully equipped boutique glamping tent with breathtaking views of colourful blooms stretching towards the Pakhuis Mountains. Enjoy creature comforts like a private outdoor wood-fired hot tub, indoor fireplace, luxurious extra-length queen-sized beds, a spacious rain shower, and air conditioning.
How to get there and stops en-route
From Cape Town to AfriCamps at de Pakhuys
The quickest route to AfriCamps at de Pakhuys is via the N7, passing through Clanwilliam and the Pakhuis Pass, but we suggest taking some scenic detours to stop and smell the wildflowers, and savouring something yummy while you’re at it.
An hour’s drive from Cape Town, this is a perfect spot for lunch and to stretch your legs. In August and September, the Park is vibrant with colourful wildflowers when it opens the normally restricted Postberg section to day visitors. Not only will you see the remarkable flowers, but you’ll also steal glimpses of migrating whales along the coastline. The Park offers lovely picnic and braai spots overlooking the Langebaan Lagoon or the coast. Alternatively, the Geelbek Restaurant serves a range of traditional dishes. West Coast National Park Visitor Brochure.
This charming stopover is located between Moorreesburg and Piketberg, right at the N7’s Koringberg turn-off. A gateway to destinations like the West Coast, Cederberg, and Namaqualand, this farm stall is a traveller’s delight on the Cape Town – Namibia route. Complete with a gift and convenience shop, as well as a restaurant offering both dine-in and takeaway options, Desert Rose is an excellent lunch choice for those en route to the wildflowers.
Photo: Kloovenburg Wine and Olive Estate
Riebeek-Kasteel and Riebeek West are small towns offering a vibey atmosphere and a number of award-winning olive and wine farms to explore. This route is a delightful detour if you prefer a circle route and want to see more of the region. One of our favourites is the family-friendly open-air Kringe Inni Bos restaurant located on Kloovenburg Wine and Olive Estate. Another popular culinary gem is The Barn, offering a scenic backdrop of the Riebeek Valley.
Where to view the wildflowers during your stay
As you make your way over the Pakhuis Pass, the intricate rock formations give way to the open vistas of the Agter-Pakhuis Valley. The contrast between the rugged mountains and the softness of the spring flowers is truly remarkable to see. Here you’ll also find AfriCamps at de Pakhuys where 10 boutique glamping tents await amongst a plethora of wildflowers.
AfriCamps at de Pakhuys boasts two established hiking trails meandering through sandstone boulders and wildflowers on the farm. The Waterfall Trail is a moderate 6 km trail along the banks of the Brandewyn River down into a nearby kloof where the river plummets 500 metres into the Karoo basin, resulting in lovely waterfalls, rapids, and astounding rock formations. ‘Die Plaat’ Trail is a moderate hike along a Jeep track. The hike takes approximately 2 hours but can be adjusted for those who feel like a shorter walk and offers elevated views of the surrounding mountains and valley, which are particularly exquisite to witness during spring.
Ramskop Wildflower Garden
These gardens contain a variety of more than 350 species of cultivated wildflowers. The walks on the laid-out paths through the garden also offer a beautiful view over the Clanwilliam Dam and of the Cederberg Mountains. Enjoy the short hiking trail from the flower garden to the dam wall.
Photo: Clanwilliam Tourism
Clanwilliam Dam, set against the backdrop of the Cederberg mountains, offers a vibrant foreground of wildflowers. With inviting braai and picnic areas, it’s an ideal spot for family outings with captivating views. The dam is also a popular spot known for water-based activities like swimming, waterskiing, and stand-up paddling. Anglers are in for a treat too, with the dam known as a prime location for small-mouth bass fishing.
Photo: Clanwilliam Tourism
A visit to the historic Wuppertal offers a rare window into a village of the early 1800s. The village seems to have gotten lost in time, consisting of quaint thatched cottages portraying the Cape Dutch style. This beautiful missionary village southeast of Clanwilliam will take you on a winding journey through 75 km of breathtaking scenery where wildflowers enclose the landscape.
In August, the Clanwilliam Wildflower Show showcases local flora replanted inside the town’s historic Dutch Reformed Church, allowing locals and visitors to appreciate its diversity and beauty. This ten-day show running from the last week of August transforms the church into a kaleidoscope of floral activity.
Date: 25 August – 3 September 2023
Open daily: 08h30 to 17h30
Entrance fees: Adult – R70 | Pensioner – R50 | Child – R10
Photo: Clanwilliam Wildflower Show
While you’re there – Other activities in the area
The easy 5 km walk on Traveller’s Rest Farm takes you past nine San rock art sites while following the Brandewyn River offering insight into ancient San culture. During spring, the wildflowers bring even further depth of beauty to this historically rich experience. Permits for the Sevilla Trail can be obtained from the Traveller’s Rest farmstall. Don’t miss lunch at their restaurant including traditional fare like Eland stew, Bobotie, Chicken Curry, Mac Cheese Burgers, Sandwiches, and other delicious South African favourites.
Visit Alpha Excelsior and taste their Rugged Rocks wine range made by hand and learn about this traditional winemaking method. Additionally, guests can sample Alpha Excelsior’s extra virgin olive oil, produced from hand-picked olives brined and bottled on the farm. As you explore, the wildflowers around the farm add to the ambiance. Weekday tastings must be booked in advance. On weekends, tastings are held at the Hen House from 10h00 to 16h00 on Fridays and Saturdays.
Velskoendraai is situated at the entrance to Clanwilliam. The innovative menu features seasonal dishes elevated by fresh produce. Stop for breakfast, Roosterkoek, and traditional dishes like Tripe, Waterblommetjie-bredie and Whole Lamb neck. This is a great option for families offering a play area for the kids. And while indulging in their mouthwatering meals, don’t miss out on the surrounding wildflowers that add a touch of nature’s magic to your dining experience.
Photo: Clanwilliam Tourism
With the Cederberg being the only place on the planet where rooibos grows naturally, it is only fitting to learn more about this beloved beverage at a tea tasting. House of Rooibos, offers a variety of 13 different rooibos and honey-bush teas are available in the tearoom and tea garden, along with rooibos cappuccinos, milkshakes, iced teas, and ice creams. Rooibos Tea House stocks over 100 rooibos blends and flavours which range from natural, herbal, fruity, and sweet, to green, spicy and floral. These are all available for both tasting and purchase.