For those of us in the Southern hemisphere, September is the month of blooming, and South Africa is not the exception. Greenness, flower blossoms and people filled with a new energy that seemed dormant during the winter months all come together to make this one of the best seasons for a visit to this magical land.
Among other things, South Africa boasts a spectacular flora: The Cape Floral Region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring 8 500 plant species, 70% of which are indigenous to the area and unique in the whole world.
Spring is thus arguably the best time of the year for flights to South Africa, especially for those looking to experience nature in full and radiant bloom.
Flowers and Whales
The South African Spring is a time when even the dry areas of the Northern Cape come alive with an explosion of millions of flowers. The blooming of the Namaqualand daisies is such a spectacle, that many locals travel to the area en masse to observe them. There are also many seasonal flower shows across the land, including the ones held in the Cape, Caledon, Darling, and Clanwilliam.
But Spring doesn´t only bring flowers to the fields of South Africa , it also brings whales to its shores. A prime location for whale watching can be found in Hermanus, where a Whale Festival is held, attracting over 120,000 visitors every year, who come together to celebrate the return of the whales.
Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the Spring as much as environmentalists and whale enthusiasts, since Spring is also the best time of year for this activity: not too hot, not too rainy, with virtually perfect outdoor weather.
Reserves and Gardens
Some of the most popular spots to enjoy the South African Spring in its fullest is the De Hoop Nature Reserve, in the vicinity of Bredasdorp, where hikers can observe whales and an impressive variety of migrating birds, such as flamingoes and pelicans.
The Lowveld National Botanical Garden in Mpumalanga is a plant and greenery lovers dream, with more than 2000 native species, and the Addo Elephant National Park will provide opportunities to come in contact with buffaloes lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos, great white sharks and southern right whales.
Check out this Flowers of Namaqualand music video
MOST POPULAR TRAILS & ROUTES
The Cape Country Meander spans 100kms through green farmlands and charming little towns, following the footsteps of the first Boer pioneers, with plenty of opportunities for fishing, river barging, hiking, rock climbing and canoeing, among other fun water sports.
The Freedom Trail is a mountain bike route with stunning panoramic views that goes from Cape Town to Durban, crossing mountains, valleys, natural reserves and stretches of virtually untrodden wildernesses.
A great trail for wild flower spotting, climbing and fly-fishing, the Highlands Meander in Mpumalanga will make for an exciting adventure, complete with breathtaking visions of waterfalls, flowers and black leopards.
Bird-watching lovers will be delighted by a visit to the Limpopo province, where many detailed Birding Routes are available. The best time of the year to see the hundreds of birds that populate the area is from mid Spring to mid Summer, between November and February.
Spring is simply my favorite time of year, and I can think of very few things more rewarding than escaping towards the Spring, when a rainy fall starts darkening the last days of Summer. Spring in South Africa is positively glorious, and it is just beginning right now. Happy Springtime travels!
Featured image by jonwade