Discover the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
South Africa,  Itineraries

South Africa Flower Season Itinerary

If you are in South Africa between August and September, you absolutely must see the wildflowers north of Cape Town. Flowering season is an exceptional time when millions of seeds buried in the sandy, desert soil bloom at the same time. The phenomenon is spectacular because the flowers cover everything in their path. But it is also very short-lived. Indeed, you will be able to see flowers on the sidewalks, at the edge of the roads, in the fields and especially in the national parks for only a few weeks. You will be able to admire immense expanses covered with wild flowers. The hills turn yellow, orange, red, blue, purple, white, or even pink. However, to make the most of this exceptional moment, you have to know where to go and especially when to go. You will find in this guide the best itinerary to not miss anything of the flower season in South Africa. We explain which are the best national parks to visit to see flowers, where to sleep and the unmissable attractions on the road.

Discover the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
Wildflowers along the South African roads during our road trip

Why take a tour during flower season in South Africa?

Flower season in South Africa is a unique and spectacular event, although little known. You will have the chance to see magnificent landscapes without the millions of tourists that come with it. In comparison, cherry blossoms in Japan attract thousands of times more visitors for a much lower blossom ratio!

Additionally, flower season in Cape Town is the best time to see wildlife in South African nature reserves like the Kruger. And it's also the beginning of spring, so a much less touristy period than during the summer.

It is therefore extremely recommended to visit South Africa during the flower season and thus enjoy a period that is not very crowded and conducive to safaris. You are a winner on all counts!

Discover plenty of wild flowers in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
Flower season in South Africa

Safety on your itinerary to see the wildflowers in South Africa

South Africa is considered a dangerous country. But once there, you won't notice it. Indeed, even if the criminal statistics are very scary, the reality is very different. The vast majority of crimes take place in the slums and you will never set foot there (for your safety!). Apart from these high-risk areas, the rest of the country is quite safe. You have to follow a few common sense rules such as not walking at night in deserted streets. Do not leave your phone on the coffee table when going to the bathroom. Or wear very conspicuous valuable jewelry in poor areas. By staying on the beaten path, you have very little chance of being attacked. However, if you want to leave with peace of mind, we recommend that you take out insurance with World Nomads. They are the leader in travel insurance and offer very good prices for full coverage (in addition to the medical/accident/sports aspect, they also insure many other things such as lost luggage or passports, trip cancellations, etc… ).

Summary of the itinerary to enjoy 100% of the flower season in South Africa

  • DAY 1: Visit Langebaan and the West Coast National Park
  • DAY 2: Discover Nieuwoudtville and its botanical garden
  • DAY 3: Explore Kamieskroon and the famous Namaqualand Park
  • DAY 4: Visit Springbok and Goegap Nature Reserve
  • DAY 5: Return to Cape Town

This 5-day itinerary takes you from Cape Town to the north of the country (almost to the Namibian border) to see the wild flowers in the most sublime landscapes. You will discover four very different national parks, each with their own charms.

Discover the West Coast National Park in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
West Coast National Park hill during flower season

How many days to see wildflowers in South Africa?

This 5 day tour is the best to experience 100% of the flower season in South Africa. This is the route we recommend to anyone who wants to not miss a thing.

We are also aware that not everyone has 5 days of vacation to allocate to Cape Town flowers. If you only want to see the phenomenon once, then you can just visit the West Side National Park on a day trip. This is what we did on our first road trip and we came back amazed. We bet you will want to come back, like us, to finish the five days of the circuit!

Finally, if you don't have time to go to Springbok but want to extend your trip, then the solution is to leave for three days and return to Cape Town after visiting the West Coast National Park and the Nieuwoudtville Botanical Garden.

Discover Nieuwoudtville in the best itinerary to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
The desert road that leads to Nieuwoudtville before seeing fields full of flowers

When to go to be sure not to miss the flower season in South Africa?

Regarding the best time to be sure not to miss the flower season in South Africa, you should know that it changes from year to year. Cape wildflowers bloom each spring on a different date and it is difficult to give specific periods. It may happen that flowering occurs early in the season and therefore the flowers will fade earlier than usual. Flowering may also be late. As you can imagine, climate change does not help to be precise either… Moreover, the flowers do not bloom everywhere on the same date. Often the national parks in the north of South Africa (Namaqualand and Goegap) are the first to post photos of multicolored hills. The nature reserves further south (West Coast National Park) are generally delayed by a few weeks.

What should be remembered is that flowers bloom between August 15 and September 15. Our advice to be sure to see flowers is to leave between the end of August and the beginning of September.

Our favorites on this itinerary to see South African wildflowers

We fell in love with the Goegap nature reserve during this itinerary to see South African wildflowers. It is the furthest natural park from Cape Town and also the least known. It wasn't even on our long list of parks to explore when we set out to write this article. We discovered it by chance. A local in Kamieskroon during a coffee break recommended that we go and visit Goegap rather than the very famous Namaqualand. We did both and he was right! Indeed, Goegap Park is magnificent. It is also much less touristy than the Namaqualand reserve.

Discover the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
Kamieskroon's cafe

We had a second crush in Nieuwoudtville. We instantly fell in love with this little village lost on top of a plateau and its magnificent botanical garden. The inhabitants are friendly, the buildings picturesque and nearby there is a magnificent waterfall as well as a superb forest of quiver trees. It allows you to vary with the flower fields!

Discover the village church of Nieuwoudtville in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
The village church of Nieuwoudtville surrounded by wildflowers in early spring

What we liked least about this tour to see the wildflowers of South Africa

The five days of this flower tour in South Africa were perfect. However, there are two important points to be aware of.

First of all, the national park on the west side (near Langebaan) is really very beautiful. But it is also very close to Cape Town. The park is therefore the privileged place to see the flowers without too much effort and road. You really need to try to visit mid-week to avoid the locals coming over from Cape Town for the weekend. If you have to visit on a Saturday or Sunday, then you absolutely must arrive 20 to 30 minutes before the doors open. Otherwise, you will be caught in traffic jams… it takes away the charm of the site!

Discover the West Coast National Park in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
South Africa's West Coast National Park

Then, the Namaqualand park is very large. It is long and runs along the west coast of South Africa. The landscapes are magnificent but 80% of the park is only accessible by 4×4. So if you plan to visit it with a small rental car, you will be limited to a loop of just a few kilometers. However, you should know that wild flowers are mainly concentrated in this loop.

Discover Namaqualand Park in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
Experience Namaqualand Park during South Africa's flower season

Our advice for renting a car during this itinerary in search of the wild flowers of South Africa

This five-day road trip in South Africa is a circuit that can be done with a sedan type car but we recommend leaving with a minimum SUV type vehicle. Indeed, the north of South Africa has (almost) only one paved road that goes from North to South. You will have to take gravel tracks to reach the natural parks as well as the villages where to sleep. The SUV has better handling on this type of road and it has a higher chassis to be able to pass the rare places with some stones.

The ideal would be to do this flower route with a 4×4. This would allow you to explore South African parks in their entirety. This is an advantage that should not be overlooked. Indeed, the best memory of our trip will remain our adventure on the tracks reserved for 4×4 in the Goegap park. The slopes are classified by level and those reserved for beginners do not require any particular experience. Thus, you can discover the park almost alone in magnificent landscapes (we were the only ones during our excursion on the 4×4 tracks - all the other tourists being limited to the 5km loop for sedan cars).

Discover the tracks for 4x4 in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
The beginner track for 4×4 in the Goegap park in South Africa

Finally, don't forget to take your international license. It is free on request at the prefecture.

Here, we drive on the left like in the English!

Tip: Rent a car in South Africa at the best price with this car rental comparator.

The best route to 100% enjoy the flower season in South Africa

Below you will find the best route to 100% enjoy the flower season in South Africa. We give you all the essential information day by day: all the essential sites to visit, the activities to do absolutely and the best accommodations to spend the night.

DAY 1: Visit Langebaan and the West Coast National Park of South Africa

Begin your journey from Cape Town by departing early in the morning. If you have not had breakfast, we recommend that you stop at Yzerfontein just before entering the park to enjoy a good coffee and good pastries. Indeed, this small coastal village has the privilege of having one of the best bakeries in the country: Rosemead Artisan Bakery!

Take the opportunity to take a picnic for the day at the bakery or at the padstall located at the junction of the main road. Indeed, we recommend eating at one of the viewpoints in the park rather than in the only restaurant.

Then head back to South Africa's West Coast National Park as soon as possible. Once in the park, you can go straight to the bottom of the reserve in the section called Postberg. It is the privileged place to see wild flowers. The track will take you two loops and you can eat your picnic at the viewpoint with the sea in front of you.

Discover the Postberg section in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
South Africa's West Coast National Park in flower season

Once the flower circuit is over, you can retrace your steps and admire the lagoon of the West Coast National Park. Kraalbaai beach is well known because its water is the only one in Cape Town to be above twenty degrees!

Finally, you'll need to go around the lagoon to exit through the Langebaan Gate (it's a different entry point than this morning). On your way, we highly recommend that you stop at the viewpoint on the right side of the lagoon. It is the highest point of the reserve and the view is breathtaking.

Discover all the viewpoints in the best itinerary to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
One of the many flowery viewpoints in the West Coast National Park

Before leaving the national park, if you have time, you can also take a detour to see the bird watching huts. Many flamingos, pelicans and other seabirds are found there.

At the end of the day, we recommend that you have dinner at die strandloper restaurant (however, reservations are required). It's an institution and the evening will inevitably be memorable. They are located on the beach and the unique menu includes 10 BBQ dishes!

For accommodation, it is best to book at Windtown Lagoon Hotel. This is the best located accommodation. You are right next to the beach, bars and restaurants.

Check availability

NB: if you decide to visit only the West Coast National Park over two days, we recommend visiting the town of Darling the next day on the way back. This small inland town is home to a famous brewery (Darling Brew tasting room), a very good vineyard (Ormonde Vineyard tasting room), a good restaurant (1910 The old forge bar and restaurant), a confectioner (Darling Sweet), and even a burlesque show (Evita Se Perron)! During flower season they have a small reserve which is open to the public (Tienie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve) as well as a museum in the city center. You can also visit the superb !Khwa ttu San Cultural & Education Center and eat at their restaurant steeped in San culture.

DAY 2: Discover Nieuwoudtville and its superb botanical garden full of wild flowers

Once again, you will have to get up early to make the three-hour drive that separates Langebaan from Nieuwoudtville. You absolutely have to go through Vanrhyns Pass. This pass that leads to this small town is truly magnificent and the view from the top is superb.

Discover the Vanrhyns Pass in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
At the top of Vanrhyns Pass in South Africa

At the entrance to the city, there are often African mamas who sell Roosterkoek (homemade bread) baked on embers. We highly recommend that you make it for your breakfast! It's great when they're hot!

Discover the Roosterkoek in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
Roosterkoeks sold on the roadside at the entrance to Nieuwoudtville.

Then, walk through the village to access the entrance to the Hantam National Botanical Garden.

Discover the Hantam National Botanical Garden in the best itinerary to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
The entrance to the Hantam National Botanical Garden during flower season in South Africa

The botanical garden offers many hikes and we really liked Camel Koppie Trail. It's not the shortest hike but it's the only one that gives access to a viewpoint. From the top of the rocks (Koppie), you can contemplate the expanse of fields of wild flowers. It is also the ideal place to eat your picnic.

Discover flower fields in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
The flower fields near the Hantam National Botanical Garden in South Africa

Finally, if you have time left, you can go see the Nieuwoudtville waterfall and 10 minutes further you can see the Quiver Tree Forest. Both of these attractions are worth seeing. Especially quiver trees.

Discover the Quiver Tree Forest near Nieuwoudtville in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
The Quiver Tree Forest near Nieuwoudtville

For sleeping, we recommend the B&B Linda getting Dop in Nieuwoudtville. The guest house is very well decorated, the welcome is warm and it is the best accommodation in town. However, if you do not book in advance, there is little chance that you will find a room available in all of Nieuwoudtville!

Check availability

In this case, the best is to sleep in Vanrhynsdorp. It is the nearest town. The Namaqua Lodge is known to accommodate most tourists in the region. The rooms are clean, comfortable and good value for money.

Check availability

DAY 3: Explore Kamieskroon and the famous Namaqualand Park

The next day you have the choice between two different routes. You can drive 3 hours from Nieuwoudtville and enter Namaqualand National Park via Kamieskroon. The nature reserve, famous for its wildflowers, is 30 kilometers from the city and is the recommended option for sedan cars.

NB: read the instructions carefully so as not to get lost between Kamieskroon and the Namaqualand park:

Discover the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.

On the way, we advise you to stop for a coffee or breakfast at Die murasie. Located 3km from the entrance to Skilpad Park, this South African coffee shop is only open during flower season.  

Discover the Die murasie coffee shop in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
Die murasie cafe just before the entrance to Namaqualand park

Alternatively, if you have a 4×4, you can do this route via the 200km Caracal 4×4 Eco-Route. This corresponds to the southern part of Namaqualand called Groen-Spoeg River coastal section. The landscapes are beautiful but the flowers are only in the north. Nevertheless, you can walk along the coast by discovering ancient Nama Khoi caves, a colony of seals, or even a wreck near HondeklipBaai.

 PLEASE NOTE: you must be autonomous to take the Caracal 4×4 Eco-Route. There is no water point, gas station or restaurant on the way. The nearest petrol station is in Kamieskroon or Garies. It is also necessary to allow much more time than by the paved road…

Once you arrive in the northern section of Namaqualand called Skilpad, you can do the 5km loop on foot or by car. It is a road accessible to all cars and it is the best place to contemplate wild flowers as far as the eye can see. Also be sure to stop at the Roof of Namaqua viewpoint.

Discover Skilpad in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
Arrival in the Skilpad section of Namaqualand Nature Park in South Africa

In the evening, you can sleep in the park at the Skilpad Rest Camp. They have glamping tents specially set up for the flower season. But we found the price too high to sleep in a tent. Rather, we recommend the Springbok Inn in Springbok which offers excellent value for money.

NB: We strongly advise you to reach Springbok by Wildeperdehoek pass and Messelpad pass. These passes are really very beautiful but they are only accessible by 4×4.

Discover the 'Wildeperdehoek pass' in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
Beginning of the road leading to the Wildeperdehoek pass

DAY 4: Visit Springbok and Goegap Nature Reserve

Once you get to Goegap Nature Park near Springbok, you can do the 13 kilometer loop accessible to sedan cars. The loop goes through the places that have the most flowers.

Discover Goegap Park in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
Discover Goegap Park in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.

But if you have a 4×4, we encourage you to hit the slopes. Start with the beginner circuits if you have no experience. Whichever you choose, you'll find that Goegap nature reserve is definitely worth a visit during flower season.

Discover 4x4 tracks in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
Viewpoint from a pass in Goegap Park in South Africa

In the evening we recommend that you return to Springbok and sleep two nights in a row at Springbok Inn. Alternatively, you can also spend the night at Okiep Country Hotel. It's outside Springbok and it's really, really good.

Finally, if you want to treat yourself for one or two nights during this circuit, it is best to book at Naries Namakwa Retreat. This is by far the best hotel in the area.

Check availability

DAY 5: Return to Cape Town (and detour via HondeklipBaai)

The last day of this itinerary to discover the wild flowers of south africa is devoted to the return to Cape Town. It takes between 5 and 6 hours by road.

If you have time, you can take a (long) detour via HondeklipBaai but the road is a gravel track and we do not necessarily recommend it. On site you can eat at Die rooi spinnekkop but you have to call in advance because they only open if there are customers!  

Discover HondeklipBaai Beach in the best route to enjoy the flower season in South Africa. This circuit takes you to the most beautiful parks.
HondeklipBaai Beach

If you are looking for accommodation in Cape Town, we recommend that you read our article on the best accommodations in town.

Conclusion on the best itinerary to visit South Africa during the flower season

We hope you enjoy this five-day itinerary through the wildflowers of South Africa as much as we did. It goes around the unmissable sites during the flower season. Enjoy your stay and above all have a good trip!

To know more about South Africa

If you want to lengthen or shorten your tour, we have also written articles on the best routes to visit South Africa in 1 months, 3 weeks, 17 days, 15 days, 10 days ou 7 days.

In addition, you will find below links that may interest you about South Africa:

Itinéterre is a travel blog written by a team of expatriates and locals. They share their experiences so that you can enjoy the best tours in their countries. Their advice will help you plan your vacation easily as if a local is accompanying you!