31 August 2010

West Coast National Park & Postberg

Date: 29 August 2010

Location: West Coast National Park

Walkers: Vanessa, Dorothy, Michele & Helen

We took a drive up the R27 to the West Coast National Park to see the spring flowers! (Map here).

Our first stop was Tsaarsbank on the Atlantic Coast. I was interested to see that this is where the 16 Mile Beach ends (we've walked a section of this beach, from the start, on the Yzerfontein side).

From here we drove into the Postberg section of the park. This area is only open for flower season, August and September. We took a road to the left, and immediately saw field of flowers. There were not quite as many flowers as I've seen on previous years (here and further north) but they were still plentiful and incredibly pretty.

Orange, white and yellow daisies predominated, their little faces open to the sun. We were so lucky to have a sunshiny day.

In the distance a couple of wildebeest trotted past. We also saw antelope.

But mostly... flowers! Lots and lots of flowers!

We got out the car at Plankiesbaai, a bit further up on the Atlantic coast.

There were lots of daisies on the north-facing slope.

A sign alongside the path indicated flowers for 15km. We just took a short stroll, but would have loved to do a longer walk here. Maybe next time.

Near the coast here there were many vygies...

... and other succulent plants.

Next, we drove inland, stopping often to marvel at the view.

There are signs asking visitors to stay in their vehicles. However a lot of the flowers, bulbs especially, are really small and one does need to get close to see them properly. Of course we didn't go tramping far into the veld. Well, maybe just a little ;-)

Look at these flowers. I can't resist these colours!

From the vlaktes we drove up to the Uitkyk picnic area. On the way we got a wonderful view of Saldanha Bay to the north.

We set out our folding chairs and fired up the kettle for a cuppa.

From Uitkyk there are several paths... we figured exploring on foot is allowed here. Many flowers to see, and also a lot of insect life.

The reserve also has many tortoises. We saw several. And a snake!

Birds too of course: francolins and herons, amongst others.

As we had a booking for lunch we headed off in the car again, for a slow drive back through the main part of the park and all the way around the lagoon. It was warm, still and sunny, a perfect spring day. The skies, with vapour trails and high-level clouds, were particularly captivating.

After lunch in a beach-front restaurant in Langebaan we walked out on the sand and felt the water. It was surprisingly warm; almost swim-able.

We drove back into the park and took a walk to the Seeberg bird hide.

This was a beautiful spot with typical west coast scenery.... wide open space, wetlands, water, sand, big sky. I find these vistas incredibly peaceful and can stare at them for hours.

In the distance we saw a flock of flamingos. Flamingos! Perfect end to a lovely day out.