WINTER PHOTO ESSAY
Fields of dreams pay homage to South Africa’s floral kingdom
Such is the varied topography of this beautiful and diverse country that winter means vastly different things to all who live here.
Although shorts and swimming hold sway along much of KwaZulu-Natal’s coastline, the Highveld begins to shiver (especially at night). The rain and relative cold of the Western Cape’s bleak winter holds the anticipated promise and beauty of spring and all it brings.
As the throne of the Cape Floristic Kingdom, the Cederberg flaunts this promise. It is a place where birdsong fills the gaps in otherworldly rock formations formed millennia ago. Endless fields of flowers and bulbs pay homage to creation, once a year, for a very short time.
How to get there
From Cape Town, take the N7, passing the towns of Malmesbury and Piketberg, over the Piekenierskloof Pass, down past Ceres to the Cederberg hub of Clanwilliam. It’s just over three hours. From Clanwilliam, it’s 40 minutes over the Pakhuis Pass to Bushmanskloof Wilderness Reserve, and a little over an hour to the Oudrif Straw Bale Cottages, on the Doring River.
If you are the type to stop and smell the fynbos, Kardoesie padstal, almost at the top of the pass, is a good place to stop before Clanwilliam. If not for coffee and koeksister indulgence, then for self-catering essentials like chutney, roosterkoek and local honey.
The recommended CapeNature hikes leading off the Pakhuis Pass and going through the otherworldly formations are worthy of attention.
Travellers’ Rest is a restaurant and farm offering pioneer history and San paintings. The 5km easy walking trail from the farm stall follows the Brandewyn River and visits nine sites of rock art paintings. Springbok, hartebeest and eland, small game, dassies and baboons may be encountered on the walk.
A free pamphlet with information about the nine sites is available from the farm stall. For more information on the rock art and plants on the trail, Rock Art of the Western Cape – Book 1: The Sevilla Trail by Peter Slingsby is on sale at the farm stall (R95). DM168
This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.