According to the calendar, spring is finally here in South Africa. But for us, living on the West Coast of South Africa, there is another way to determine whether spring finally arrived … wildflowers pop up everywhere!
We are fortunate to live on the doorstep of the West Coast National Park. And within this park is the Postberg Nature Reserve. This reserve is only open for visitors during August and September – particularly to view the exceptional wildflowers in full bloom.
There is a great circular route one can drive to see these flowers (we have done this last year and you can read about it here), but this year we decided it was time to do the popular two-day hiking trail.
Information on the trail:
- Distance – Day 1: 15.5km (9.6 miles)
- Distance – Day 2: 11.8km (7.3 miles)
- Maximum number of people on the trail per day: 12
- Hiking in Postberg is only allowed in August & September
- Bookings already open in June
- Overnight camping spot: Plankiesbaai (on the beach)
- You will have to carry everything you’ll need – i.e. tent, sleeping bag, food & water
- The West Coast National Park staff supply wood, grids & kettles for use at Plankiesbaai
- Water is available at Plankiesbaai
- The trail is strenuous and you should be reasonably fit
When we left home, we could already feel the famous southerly wind for which this area is so well-known during this time of year … but you can’t always have the perfect conditions on a hike. We were happy though that the sun was out, because that meant we would be able to see the flowers.
Just after 9:00, the park’s friendly ranger welcomed us and explained the route. After she handed us a map, we took off with our backpacks to enjoy this beautiful reserve.
The trail is marked with route markers featuring a white flower and/or white poles. At the beginning of the trail, some of the poles are red and white and together with the flower is the head of a steenbok (the red poles and steenbok indicates the one-day hiking trail).
When you are walking this trail, you won’t just see beautiful flowers, but you could also be fortunate to see game that is not that shy of humans. Zebra, wildebeest, antelope, ostrich, mongoose, snakes, birds and tortoises are just among some of the wild animals that can be spotted … let’s hope not to see (or encounter) any of the snakes!
Since we’ve driven through the reserve before, we were under the impression that this trail would be (fairly) flat … oh no, don’t think that for a minute! There were a couple of hills to climb – and with a heavy backpack loaded with camping gear, this was quite a challenge!
When we’ve got close to the top of the hill, we could stand still for a moment to appreciate the view (and to catch our breaths)! We could see the cold Atlantic Ocean on our right and the beautiful Kraalbaai on our left. Kraalbaai is a lovely sandy beach in the West Coast National Park (and their houseboats are very popular accommodation for tourists).
Since this is a “flower viewing” hiking trail, it will just be fitting to show some of the beautiful flowers to you … and I’m afraid, you will get an overload of “flower viewing” towards the end of this post 😊.
When we reached the top of the hill, we had the most beautiful view of the Langebaan lagoon. Another couple from our hiking group joined us and we stayed here for a while to take photos and just admire the view.
The two-day route has now separated from the one-day route and we walked towards Perlemoenpunt (loosely translated, it can be called Abalone Point).
For a few kilometers we enjoyed a beautiful jeep trail that literally follows along the lagoon.
And then, once the trail follows the turn at Perlemoenpunt, we could feel the strong southerly wind in our faces … and it was now uphill as well! That called for only one thing – lunch time!
I must admit, I thought we had quite a nice lunch … Portuguese rolls filled with cold meat and cheese with a nice sauce as well as some sausages we’ve baked in the oven the previous evening. That was until our fellow hikers put down their lunch … different cheeses, biscuits and strawberries … wow, we need to learn how to do a proper lunch break in nature!
After a well-deserved rest and full tummies, it was time to hike the last 7km … and we knew the most beautiful carpet of flowers were awaiting us just over the hill!
At first, we walked through a yellow garden of flowers … spread like a carpet in front of us.
At the top of the hill we had the most spectacular view of purple flowers covering the ground as far as the eyes could see – quite amazing! And to our right we could see the road leading to the Atlantic Ocean, where we were going to spend the night.
We have done many hiking trails before this one, but I have to admit, this trail must be close to the top of our list when it comes to scenic views! To walk between these wildflowers, was a wonderful experience.
After walking through the field of flowers, we reach the beach. Plankiesbaai, our overnight spot, was located along the coast.
Blown away by the wind (but also blown away by the beauty of this trail), we’ve arrived at Plankiesbaai. Here are just the minimum facilities available – ablution facilities, basins and cold water. Oh, and don’t forget about the ‘braai’ (barbeque) area … that came in very handy later in the evening!
The rest of our hiking group arrived shortly behind us. Tents were pitched and the fires were lit where we could prepare dinner. There was a wonderful camaraderie between us and it was a lovely evening around the fires. Still, I just have to mention that a very strong wind sent us all to bed pretty early!
The wind only calmed down at around 3:00 the next morning and we woke up on a beautiful (windless) morning. After having breakfast next to the fire and putting our tents back in our backpacks, it was time to walk the last stretch of this amazing hiking trail.
The second day on this trail is mostly along the coast (with one uphill – of course – just to get the blood pumping)!
We’ve ended this trail with a short walk on the beach and another cup of coffee at the Tsaarsbank Picnic Area.
How would we rate this hike? Excellent and a must do, that’s for sure! It’s only open for two months of the year and you will not even think about your heavy backpack when you’re walking between the bright and beautiful wildflowers!
And once again, here’s a short video clip of our two-day hike in Postberg … we hope you enjoy it as much as we did!