Tag Archives: spring

Spring Flower Season in the West Coast National Park (2016-09-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 OCT 2016

The West Coast National Park is not the best SANParks national park to recommend visiting if you are looking for some big game to spot. However, with the idyllic Langebaan lagoon as its focal point, the 27,500 hectare large West Coast National Park is certainly more public friendly than most, with it being one of the few national parks where you can cycle, jog, braai, suntan, swim in the sea, picnic, swim in a lagoon, or even camp out on houseboat!

(Plus, there are actually antelope and smaller creatures to be spotted, and of course plenty of diverse bird life for the enthusiast).

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Spring however is when the park really comes to life, where the annual carpets of colourful wild flowers show their faces and turn the area into an amazing sprawl of delight.

Naturally, SANParks immediately hikes the entry fee to take advantage of this surge of interest in the area, but it is money well spent, believe you me (unless of course you own a Wild Card, because well then entry is free) – if you haven’t yet witnessed the incredible carpeted fields of colour that the private Postberg Flower Reserve unveils come Spring, then you simply have to make a plan for next year.

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Capetonians (i.e. people from Cape Town) descend on the park in their hordes, with lengthy queues at the entrance gate quite the norm. (Tip: If you don’t enjoy waiting in queues, you can go the long way around and enter via the Langebaan gate – usually a much less busy gateway into the park!)

Apart from these few weeks in Spring, the Postberg Flower Reserve section of the park is closed to the public, meaning that it remains unspoiled for much of the year. Every year this then pays dividends when the hills literally start exploding with colour as the flower season begins.

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Chantelle and I had seen this spectacle for ourselves for the first time last year (we even overnighted in Hopefield of all places!), and this year we were quite eager for the girls to also see this wonderful sight of nature at her best.

Having enjoyed a big family bash in celebration of Cheryl’s birthday the day before, Sunday saw us head out down the N7 and then R27 to Langebaan, where we met up with my Mom and Dad for a day of flower watching.

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This turned out to actually be a great plan, because we knew that the girls would probably become bored quite quickly (and thus start annoying each other in the back), so we split them up, with Jessica riding in Mom and Dad’s car while Emily stayed with us (on Chantelle’s lap).

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We spent the next couple of hours driving through the park, admiring all the colours and of course getting slightly flustered with all the traffic. As you would imagine, cars were parked everywhere, with pretty much anyone with even the slightest inkling of calling themselves a photographer spilling out to capture as much of the flower covered landscape as possible.

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We were treated to some amazing sights, and explored a bit more of the area than what we did last time around (this time I made sure I had enough petrol before going in!), and after our visual senses were properly sated, we headed down back to the lagoon for a bite to eat at the park’s Geelbek Restaurant.

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At least, that was the plan until we quickly realized that perhaps they were simply too busy to actually give good service, and so opted to abandon our table and rather exit the park to grab a now very late lunch from the nearby Beulah Farm Deli instead.

So in the end it was a day well spent, and I therefore suspect that next year we will probably be back again. Though perhaps this time even more prepared to make an even fuller day out of it! (In other words, remembering to pack a picnic basket for a change…)

Oh, and once again, taking pictures of fields of flowers doesn’t really work all that well when all you have is your Huawei cellphone for the job. Nevertheless, I tried my best:

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(Oh, and sadly we did see less animals than what we did last time around. Not a big train smash though, so long as you go into the park knowing that animal spotting is not the big drawcard here!)

Related Link: West Coast National Park | Wikipedia | Postberg Flower Reserve

Flower and Plane Watching at the Stellenbosch Flying Club (2016-09-03) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 21 SEP 2016

With Chantelle and Tarryn treating her mom to a surprise high tea at the Mount Nelson (in celebration of Cheryl’s birthday), the girls and I were left to our own devices – and ordered to kill time until a big family birthday braai get together come that evening.

So the kids and I did what I currently enjoy doing the most – we hit the road and went exploring.

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Apart from the two interesting finds that we did make on the day, the first being Vredenhof Organic Estate in Somerset West, and the second being the Jan Marais Nature Reserve in Stellenbosch, the most colourful of the lot was our small detour to the Stellenbosch Flying Club to do a bit of plane watching.

You see, an unexpected bonus lay in wait for us: the airstrip had been transformed into a colourful wild flower display, thanks to Spring being currently in the air!

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Jessica decided that she was quite content to rest and watch planes from the comfort of the car (parked under a nice and shady tree), so it was just Emily and myself then that happily wandered about the grounds, admiring the blooming flowers and excitedly watching the odd plane take off and come back in again for landing.

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day out, and we spotted quite a few people relaxing at the clubhouse restaurant. (Interesting fact: with over 600 members and 160 aircraft based on the airfield, Stellenbosch is now considered one of the biggest Flying Clubs in South Africa).

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Much to Emily’s annoyance, I paid far too much attention to the historic De Havilland Vampire on display, but it couldn’t really be helped – this is after all the plane that for all intent and purpose ushered in the jet age for the South African Air Force (SAAF) back in the day.

Anyway, the point is that this was a rather nice, quick and rewarding stop on a day which in the end was going to turn out to be quite a long one indeed!

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Oh, seeing as access to the flying club is open to the general public, I’ve gone and added this map in case you also want to head out that way and watch some planes – or grab an introductory flight lesson like I did last year! ;)

Related Link: Stellenbosch Flying Club | Facebook

Playing Gordon’s Bay Beach Sand (2015-10-11) Photo Gallery 13 OCT 2015

The nice thing about Summer now really being just right around the corner is of course the fact that we can end off pretty much any day with a quick stop to play in the sand at our local beach.

Emily enjoys this thoroughly (though just like Jess was, she’s absolutely terrified of the sea), whilst Jessica on the other hand has discovered that she can fly!

IMG_20151011_181148 jessica in the air at gordon's bay main beach

See? Summer, we’re ready for you now! :)

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(That said, it’s still winter pajamas for the little ones…)

IMG_20151011_200710 lotters ready for bed after the beach

Wild Flowers in the West Coast National Park (2015-09-13) Photo Gallery 04 OCT 2015

Sunday (a few weeks ago mind you) was the culmination of our little jaunt to Hopefield – a viewing of the magnificent Spring wild flowers at the Postberg Flower Reserve within the West Coast National Park.

IMG_20150913_125650 wild flowers in the postberg nature reserve at the west coast national park

Having spared the kids the torture of sitting in a car the whole day by leaving them back in Bellville with the grandparents, we followed up our evening of good rest in Hopefield with a pleasant breakfast at the Merry Widow, and then packed our bags and made our way to the Langebaan gate of the West Coast National Park.

It was still pretty early, so getting in wasn’t an issue in terms of what we hear can be quite lengthy queues at this time of the year, and pretty soon we were cruising along the tarred road, admiring the view of the vegetation, sea and of course, azure blue Langebaan lagoon!

Truthfully, the West Coast National Park on the whole isn’t the best of parks for viewing animals given the combination of thick, shrub-like vegetation and tarred roads, but nevertheless, we spotted a fair number of snakes, tortoises and even some Eland on our way towards the Postberg Flower Reserve entrance.

IMG_20150913_125108 wild flowers in the postberg nature reserve at the west coast national park

The privately owned (but managed by SANParks) Postberg Flower Reserve is closed to the public except for a short period during Spring (i.e. flower viewing season), meaning that this secluded piece of land is literally covered from head to toe in a brilliant explosion of pink, orange, purple, yellow and white wild flowers – making for an absolutely jaw-dropping beautiful spectacle to behold.

(Also, its secluded nature means that the antelope haven’t yet learned to shy away from the roads, making sighting of gemsbok, eland, steenbok, bontebok, kudu and red hartebeest an almost surety – and indeed, we were thoroughly rewarded in terms of herd sightings!)

Also – I thought it a particularly special sighting – we stumbled across an owl sitting out in the open, just happily perched there on a branch, allowing the cars to pass by without a seeming care in the world!

IMG_20150913_125702 wild flowers in the postberg nature reserve at the west coast national park

As expected, the Postberg was literally crawling with people out to see the flowers, and despite the multitude of signs posted all around, as is human nature I guess, these were completely ignored and people were stopped all over the place, out of their vehicles, trampling flowers, and stomping about- all to get the best shot possible of course.

Sigh.

Despite this though, the flowers really were something amazing to behold and I’m very pleased that Chantelle and I made the trip through to see this – highly recommended indeed!

IMG_20150913_125238 chantelle and craig lotter selfie in the west coast national park

Sadly though, a lack of petrol and a need to save both set of grandparents from our kids meant that we couldn’t exactly spend the whole day wandering about the park (which by the way boasts some fantastic facilities and is one of the few parks that encourages you to ride bike, braai, etc.), meaning back home we had to turn.

Which was a nervous drive out the park mind you – that petrol gauge was looking suspiciously low!

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(We did stop on the way back at the colourful West Coast Farm Stall for a quick coffee and bite to eat – which in hindsight was a bad move because without the kids to enjoy its silly ‘artistic’ eccentricities, the place comes across as more than just a little rundown/tacky.)

IMG_20150913_151645 chantelle lotter in the weskus padstal

Anyway, we arrived back in Bellville safely, picked up Jessica and Emily (who were over the moon to see Mommy and Daddy again), and headed back home to Gordon’s Bay, having enjoyed a thoroughly good whirlwind weekend of out and about! :)

Related Link: West Coast National Park | Postberg Flower Reserve

Photo Gallery: Spring Picnic at Klein Joostenberg Farm (2012-09-16) Photo Gallery 16 SEP 2012

We were forced to cancel our Spring picnic two weeks ago, on account of all the friends being sick never mind the slightly miserable weather, but in the end this worked out for the best, because jump two weeks forward and we are blessed with a hot, sunshine-filled day, the perfect weather for a Spring picnic with the friends at Klein Joostenberg Farm! :)

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