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The Cape Wild Flower Experience 2019

February 1, 2019 -Cape Nature

Flowers. Flowers, as far as the field at your feet extends. A tapestry of colour, crowded by perennials vying for their sliver of the spotlight. Be one of a handful of travellers to have ever experienced this lesser-explored phenomenon. Join us on our favourite overlanding expedition for its limited annual season between 16 August to 11 September 2019.

Leave the green, dense city of Cape Town and enter the arid expanse that is the West Coast of South Africa. Explore a region that conjures up a constant sense of query. Why was it first settled? How do people continue to survive here? And most importantly, where do the flowers come from during their fleeting annual spell? 

Drawing from African Lynx’s experience we offer you two routes to choose from. Each combines different elements for the most comprehensive wildflower experience. There are route-exclusive experiences as well as ones that are shared by the two routes. Ancient quiver trees, the possibility of meerkats, desert-adapted antelope and an untouched wild coast are a few of the highlights other than the flowers themselves. Savour the passing landscape punctuated by African Lynx padkos (refer to the glossary below) before letting out some tyre pressure to prepare for the rugged roads to come. Roads that lead through granite kopjes, across energizing expanses and parallel to the untamed coast where the succulents thrive. And finally, trek inland to the aged cederberg mountains, the traditional home of the San people.

 

The African Lynx Way

These routes fully come to life through our Private Guides. Their unique combination of skills enhance this natural phenomenon and make it unlike anything you would have experienced before. With backgrounds in the luxury safari industry, they have fine-tuned the necessary skills for an overlanding expedition of this nature. In-depth knowledge, comprehensive photographic skill and 4×4 handling form the foundation of this adventure. Interpersonal skills paired with gripping stories, further enhance the experience. And, of course, it would not be complete without the unique African Lynx offering; fully equipped vehicles, mouthwatering padkos, freshly pressed morning coffee and intimate sundowners elevate each moment in the expedition.

 

Option 1: The Northern Route – 8 days

 

Cape Town – Namaqualand Skilpad Flower Camp – Namaqualand Beach Flower Camp – Bushmans Kloof – Cape Town Click here to view map

For the adventurous traveller seeking to see Namaqualand’s unseen. A true overlanding expedition. Experience unparalleled backcountry.

Tour Highlights:

Remote northern reaches of Namaqua National Park, quiver trees, 4×4 trail, Namaqualand’s klipkoppe

 

Day 1 – Cape Town to Skilpad Flower Camp, Namaqualand (513 km ~ 6 hours)

Saunter out of the city. Through the fields of wheat, citrus-laden valleys and into the desert. More specifically southern Africa’s coastal desert, the Namib. Explore the granite outcrops adorned by quiver trees at the northernmost point of your journey. Nestle in under an unspoilt ceiling of stars and ready yourself for the ensuing expedition.

 

Day 2 – Skilpad Flower Camp – explore the remote northern section of the Namaqua National Park and surrounds for the day

Search the hotspots in the north for the most colour filled fields. Striking landscapes, endemic birds, and one of the most star-filled skies you have ever seen await your discovery. Let some pressure out of the tyres and wind down the windows, lock onto the jeep-track and enjoy the evolving landscape.

 

Day 3 – Skilpad Flower Camp to Beach Camp, through the reserve on the 4×4 route (134 km ~ 7 hours)

The longitudinal drive from Skilpad to Beach Camp, through the reserve, is one that will stretch your perception of human resilience. Remnants of early pioneers into the area, current inhabitants and the history of the indigenous people of the region, all fuel conversation. Discussions that enrich an already engaging drive along one of the country’s least travelled roads, stark beauty at its best.

 

Day 4 – Beach Camp – explore the rugged coast for the day

Vygies become more prevalent and the clusters of violet decorate the otherwise barren vista. The salty sea air floods the inside of the vehicle just before the Atlantic comes into view. Your base for the next two nights is within reach of the spray off of the thundering waves. Discover the smaller secrets along this unspoilt shoreline on boardwalks parallel to the sea and lagoons filled with flamingos.

 

Day 5 – Beach Camp to Bushmans Kloof, via Meitjiesfontein flower fields (331 km ~ 6 hours incl. stops)

Through the vehicle’s trailing dust cloud watch it all fade as the mountains come into view. Trade the soothing sound of the ocean for the silence of the Cederberg. Climb up and over the final mountain pass and into what feels like another world. Immerse yourself in the dwelling place of the San people.

 

Day 6 + 7 – Bushmans Kloof exploring for 2 full days, with our specialist San rock-art and flora guide (see Rob’s bio at the bottom of this post)

Towering red peaks subtly remind you of the scale of this monumental landscape. Peering up at the cragged skyline every rock looks to conceal a feline form. An elusive apex predator still found in and amongst the concealed caves, the endangered Cape leopard. Through the deafening silence experience the tangible sense of mystery seemingly left behind by those that preceded our modern existence in this incredible place. Immerse yourself in the diversity of all this oasis has to offer and gain an insider’s look into this area through our step-on specialist guide Rob Armstrong, a once-resident of this ancient land.

 

Day 8
Bushmans Kloof to Cape Town (264 km ~ 3 hours)

Add-on: Helicopter flight back to Cape Town – experience greater perspective, a birds-eye view of the breathtaking Cederberg is the perfect way to round off the fully immersive West Coast Flower Experience. (1 hour flight)

Option 2: The Southern Route – 7 Days

Unearth the hidden gems of the West Coast as you wind through flowers and quaint fishing villages. Delve into the dry, raw beauty of Namaqualand before experiencing the ancient enchanted Cederberg.

Cape Town – West Coast National Park – Paternoster – Namaqualand Beach Flower Camp – Bushmans Kloof – Cape Town

Click here to view map

Tour Highlights:

Access a section of the West Coast National Park that is not often open to the public, 3-seater or 6-seater, Wolfgat restaurant ranked #4 in South Africa

 

Day 1:
Cape Town to West Coast National Park (99 km ~ 1h 15min)
West Coast National Park to Paternoster (72 km ~ 50 min)

A short dash out of Cape Town is all that stands between you and a myriad of colour, on and around the Langebaan peninsula. Peer over the sun-bleached sands toward the iridescent waters of the estuary. Let the ocean air fill your lungs and delight in the surrounding fields of flowers, an incredible setting found nowhere else. Experience this seasonal section of the park as it briefly opens for the flower bloom only. Float off with the sea breeze, away from the lagoon and further north, up the coast to Paternoster.

 

Day 2 – Paternoster to Beach Camp (426 km ~ 5h 15 min)

On the west coast peninsula, there is a town renowned for its unique characteristics. Paternoster is quaint, quirky and saturated in history. There is an inseparable connection between the town and the frigid ocean that spills onto its doorstep. The extraordinary density of marine life here was first taken advantage of as long ago as an estimated 4000 years. The indigenous San people first enjoyed the bounty, today the style of cuisine is far more sophisticated but in essence the same. Paternoster is home to one of South Africa’s top 5 restaurants, Wolfgat. A visit to the town wouldn’t be quite the same without a meal at this extraordinary establishment. With a forage-and-harvest menu philosophy, this intimate restaurant offers an array of west coast cuisine. Sustainable seafood, local lamb and venison, and seasonal veldkos are featured, enhanced by wild herbs, seaweeds from the local rock pools, and pickings from the garden. Some of the elements on the tasting menu take weeks of preparation, while other ingredients are handpicked on the day for the exact number of bookings received.

Wake up to a walk on the beach and capture the brightly coloured wooden fishing vessels that litter the shore and make the most spectacular photographs. Take-in the town and after a slow start to the morning, set your sights for Namaqualand.

 

Day 3 – Beach Camp – explore the rugged coast for the day

Continue the exploration of the western seaboard, head along the bay and eventually slightly inland. Briefly lose sight of the ocean as you make your way through the dehydrated interior. Meander through farmlands scattered with sheep and find your way back to the seaside. Unzip your tent, have a glass of wine poured for you and feel the sea spray on your cheeks as you watch the sun slowly sinking. Engage the 4×4 and brave the sandy tracks that lead to the seal colony and limestone caves in the furthest reaches of this section of the Park. Wind your way back to camp, stroll across the small beaches and in between the rocks around camp or simply sit back and absorb all that this simplistic part of the world has to offer.

 

Day 4 – Beach Camp to Bushmans Kloof via Meitjiesfontein flower fields (331 km ~ 6 hours incl. stops)

Wake up for the last time in the dry heart of Namaqualand and leave the coast behind. Push inland onto the escarpment and through Boer War battlegrounds, into the fields of flowers surrounding famous farm stalls. Proceed into the jagged peaks of the Cederberg where the astonishingly diverse Bushmans Kloof is tucked into these ancient rock formations.

 

Day 5 + 6  – Bushmans Kloof exploring for 2 full days, with our specialist San rock-art and flora guide (see Rob’s bio at the bottom of this post)

Towering red peaks subtly remind you of the scale of this monumental landscape. Peering up at the cragged skyline every rock looks to conceal a feline form. An elusive apex predator still found in and amongst the concealed caves, the endangered Cape leopard. Through the deafening silence experience the tangible sense of mystery seemingly left behind by those that preceded our modern existence in this incredible place. Immerse yourself in the diversity of all this oasis has to offer and gain an insider’s look into this area through our step-on specialist guide Rob Armstrong, a once-resident of this ancient land.

 

Day 7
Bushmans Kloof to Cape Town (264 km ~ 3 hours)

Add-on: Helicopter flight back to Cape Town – experience greater perspective, a birds-eye view of the breathtaking Cederberg is the perfect way to round off the fully immersive West Coast Flower Experience (1h flight)

 

Rob Armstrong

Larger than life, in more than one sense of the phrase. This charismatic wine farmer, with an archaeology problem, is arguably as passionate about San rock art as the artists themselves. With a formal qualification in archaeology and philosophy, obtained at the University of Cape Town, Rob went on to gain further practical experience in the Cederberg. He focused on heritage management of rock art sites in particular. The sheer number of artworks and sites in the area allowed Rob to immerse himself in the ancient culture. His passion grew quickly and in his pursuit for knowledge, he was drawn to the incredible oasis that is Bushman’s Kloof. From this biologically diverse base, he continued his learnings in both San culture as well as in the local fauna which he eventually carried over to the family wine farm. A bio-dynamic approach has led to fynbos being welcomed into his vineyards with open arms and his two cows being viewed as integral team members in the winemaking process. One of the more interesting men in the Cape, and possibly the best person to introduce you to this amazing part of our backyard. We would love to introduce you to Rob, your step-on specialist guide for this exciting experience, exclusive to African Lynx guests.

 

Glossary

Padkos – directly translated “road food” – delicious treats that effectively cut hours off any long haul journey

Kopje – directly translated “little head” – a small rocky hill 

Vygie – Afrikaans diminutive of vyg (“fig”) and more specifically any plant of the subfamily of succulent groundcovers

Veldkos – directly translated “bush food” -in and amongst the great volume of indigenous plants there are those that are more palatable than others, they fall into this category

 

If this is an adventure you would like to embark on or if you would simply like some more information click here to enquire now. 

 

 

Read more articles from our journal

The Cape Wild Flower Experience 2019

Be one of a handful of travellers to have ever experienced this lesser-explored phenomenon. Join us on our favourite overlanding expedition for its limited annual season between 16 August to 11 September 2019.

Read more

The Cape Wild Flower Experience 2019

Be one of a handful of travellers to have ever experienced this lesser-explored phenomenon. Join us on our favourite overlanding expedition for its limited annual season between 16 August to 11 September 2019.

Read more