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Namaqualand flowers – best places to see blossom

Seeing Namaqualand flowers during the spring is an unmissable experience. After the rainy winter months, the usually arid region along the West Coast of South Africa turns into one colorful carpet of wild flowers with orange, yellow, red, and purple colors dominating the scenery. The transformation is incredible, especially if you know how the area looks outside the flower season. Visiting Namaqualand is one of the best things to do in Cape Town in spring.

The road trip along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean is still a journey off the beaten track for foreign tourists compared to the famous Garden Route. Traveling through Namaqualand in spring, prepare to be surprised and see amazing things in the most unexpected places. My impression of driving through the area is the feeling of absolute freedom, the endless road that can take you as far as you wish. 

Colorful carpet of spring flowers in Namaqualand
Fields covered in thousands of flowers in Namaqualand in spring

Visit Namaqualand with a tour

Best time to see Namaqualand flowers

This part of the country gets very little rain throughout the year except for July and August. After the winter rains, in early spring the area transforms completely. Usually, the desert-like Namaqualand region turns into a colorful carpet of flowers. When you can see hundreds of thousands of yellow and orange daisies covering the coast of Southern Africa. And you can enjoy spectacular ocean views with the clear skies in this floral wonderland.

Without a doubt, the late winter and spring months of August and September are the best time to see wildflowers in Namaqualand. The flowering season varies a little bit between the northern and southern parts of the coast; in the north near Springbok early August is the best time for seeing spring flowers, and in the south between Langebaan and Lamberts Bay you have the best chance to see flowers in late August and September. It might change from year to year some years after a dry winter there might be not as many flowers as after several months of winter rains. If it rains throughout September a lot there might be not many flowers. 

When you plan your trip it’s important to remember that if you visit Namaqualand on a rainy day you won’t see many flowers, their petals will be closed. A warm and sunny day is the best for observing the flowers check the weather forecast before heading there.

If you live in Cape Town it’s not a problem as soon as you start seeing flower photos on social media, it’s the right time. If you come from far I’d recommend planning your trip to see Namaqualand flowers for the first half of September.

If you live in Cape Town it’s not a problem as soon as you start seeing flower photos on social media, it’s the right time. If you come from far I’d recommend planning your trip to see Namaqualand flowers for the first half of September.

There are many incredible places to visit in Cape Town itself if you’re a tourist make sure not to miss the main city attractions.

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Best places to see Namaqualand flowers

You can see the fields of flowers driving through Namaqualand but certain places offer the best flower fields sighting in the region. 

West Coast National Park

  • Nearest town – Langebaan, Western Cape
  • Distance from Cape Town – 110 km
  • Driving time – 1h30min.
  • Peak season – September
  • Admission fee – R80 – adults, R45 – children

Besides the stunning scenery, the park offers diverse outdoor activities for the whole family. The great thing about the park is that it’s located just 1-hour drive from Cape Town. This park is probably the best (the closest) place to visit it as a day trip from Mother City. 

Endless powder-like sandy beach on the Flower Route in South Africa
Stunning beaches in Namaqualand

Biedouw Valley

  • Nearest town – Clanwilliam, Western Cape
  • Distance from Cape Town – 300 km
  • Driving time – 3h15min.
  • Peak season – second half of August – mid-September

A spectacular valley to see during the flower season. It’s quite a drive from Cape Town but if you start really early you can make it to and back in one day.


  • Nearest town – Vredendal 
  • Distance from Cape Town – 350 km
  • Driving time – 3h40min.
  • Peak season – mid-August – beginning of September

There are several places around Nieuwoudtville where you can see flowers; Hantam National Botanical Garden, Matjiesfontein Flower Route, Papkuilsfontein Flower Route, and Rondekop Route. One can spend the whole day driving around and enjoying the stunning beauty of the flower fields.

Namaqualand National Park

  • Nearest town – Springbok, Northern Cape
  • Distance from Cape Town – 530 km
  • Driving time – 5h30min.
  • Peak season – August
  • Admission fee – R46 – adults, R23 – children

The Namaqua National Park is one of the main attractions in the Northern Cape. A visit to the park is the great one to combine with a road trip to Namibia.  To visit it as a weekend trip from Cape Town is not the best option you’ll end up spending more time driving to and back than enjoying the flowers.

A Cape Namibia Route sign on the way out of Cape Town to Namaqualand
Driving out of Cape Town to Namaqualand following the Cape-Namibia route

Things to do in Namaqualand during the flower season

Water activities

Some places on the West Coast are famous for being amazing spots for practicing water sports – Langebaan is one of them. In summer this small town is one of the best places for kitesurfing in Cape Town. Hundreds of locals and tourists from all over the world come here to surf. Even watching dozens of kites gliding in the sky is spectacular. 

Langebaan is one of the best places in the country to learn to kitesurf. We took our first lessons here. It wasn’t easy though. Summer is the windiest time here and in spring during the flower season, there might be no wind at all but it’s just another reason to come to the West Coast again for the December holiday.

If you’re looking for a winter-spring water activity in the area head to Elands Bay, one of the best surfing spots in this part of the country. Unlike with kitesurfing surfing conditions in winter are the best. You can stay in Elands Bay for a couple of days and in between surfing sessions drive around the fields of flowers.

The marine life of the West Coast is truly impressive you can see dolphins, whales, seals, penguins, etc. Our favorite place to go out with a boat for spotting animals and birds is around St.Helena Bay. In a couple of hours out in a boat, we saw many dolphins, seals, a whale, hundreds of birds, and even a couple of Sunfish that were floating around our boat close to the surface for quite a while. It’s funny because we went to dive around Bali a couple of years ago to see it, did several attempts but had only a brief encounter. 

Kayaking or paddleboarding is another great way to enjoy the beauty of the coast and see its diverse marine life. Kayaking in Langebaan Lagoon to Schaapen Island where you can see a lot of sea birds, seals, and rabbits is a great family activity. Paternoster is another great place for sea kayaking. There you can see dolphins, occasional whales, seals, penguins, and many birds. Both towns Langebaan and Paternoster have kayak rental places.

A Brown Fur seal on the rock in Namaqualand
A seal chilling on the rock on the West Coast near Paternoster

Hiking & biking

West Coast National Park in Langebaan is probably the best place in Namaqualand where you can enjoy the beautiful coastline and fields covered n flowers while hiking or cycling. There are several short walking trails between 5 km and 9 km and a couple of 2-day routes (must be booked in advance). The trails offer spectacular scenery, especially during the flower season. 

The beautiful scenery is not the only thing to enjoy in the park, during the walk you can spot animals such as bat-eared foxes, Elands, rock hyraxes, ostriches, caracals, and many birds. Walking along the coast you might spot dolphins and whales.

There are two long cycling routes in the park; a 30-kilometer route and a 70-kilometer loop, both are on a tarred road. For mountain bike lovers there are two trails; 13 km and 17 km. Information on the admission fees and working hours you can find on the official website.

If you decide to explore the inland part of Namaqualand the Cederberg Mountain area is an amazing place for outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking. The Cederberg Wilderness Area is a fantastic place to explore some off-the-beaten-track parts of Namaqualand. There are several campsites inside the reserve as well as many hiking and mountain biking trails.

Fields covered in flowers along the coast of Namaqualand
The scenery along the West Coast during the flower season

If you like hiking there are many amazing hikes in Cape Town with stunning views that everybody will enjoy.

Foodie things

Seafood and fish on the West Coast is something not to miss: fresh Saldanha oysters, massive crayfish, prawn, mussels, calamari, hake the list just goes on. Paternoster is probably the best place in Namaqualand to come for seafood

The Noisy Oyster and Voorstrandt are our two favorite restaurants here. Don’t worry if you’re not a big seafood lover (like Campbell) both places have extensive menus with meat and vegetarian dishes. Freshly baked ciabattas, croissants, and sourdough bread are another reason to stop in Paternoster. Junk & Disorderly cafe-bakery is a great place to come for breakfast. They have great coffee as well (Truth Coffee, a well-known Cape Town coffee roastery).

Muisbosskerm, an open-air restaurant on the beach near Lambert’s Bay is a not-to-miss place on the West Coast. A very cozy place with a great variety of seafood, grilled, baked, and smoked fish, freshly baked bread, and various side dishes.  It’s a buffet meal that has to be booked in advance

Namaqualand is not as famous for its wine as the Stellenbosch Wine Route but there are wine farms there that produce excellent wine. The Darling Wine Route has several beautiful farms that offer wine tasting. If you have time on the way to or back from the coast you can visit a couple of wine farms and do some tasting.  

Wine farms around Darling are closed on Sundays, and some are open on Saturdays. Over the weekend Friday afternoon is the best time for winetasting there. Beer lovers will enjoy Darling Brew where you can taste local craft beer including non-alcohol beer for designated drivers. The brewery is open Saturdays and Sundays.

Stingy Nomad at a seafood restaurant in Paternoster, Namaqualand
Alya enjoying tasty seafood at Voorstrandt Restaurant in Paternoster

How to visit the Namaqualand flower route?

If you’re local is not a problem you can just drive in your car. For tourists renting a car is the best way to explore Namaqualand. You don’t need to rent a big jeep a normal sedan will be fine if you’re going to visit the West Coast National Park or drive up to the Cederberg Mountains. If you want to do some off-road driving a 4×4 is the way to go.

If you don’t want to rent a car it’s possible to see Namaqualand flowers with a tour from Cape Town. For example, a day trip from Cape Town that includes an e-bike tour through the West Coast National Park with a free pick up and drop off at your hotel in the city and a visit to a private game reserve where you can see African animals.

Namaqualand flowers – the coastal route itinerary

A weekend in Namaqualand during the flower season is a great way to spend a couple of days with family and friends. We created two itineraries for your weekend getaway in Namaqualand: the Coastal Route and the Cederberg Route. Spending a weekend here during the flower season is an amazing experience but you can visit Namaqualand as a day trip from Cape Town. In this case, the West Coast National Park is the best place to come for a day to see wildflowers.

We’d suggest starting the trip on Friday and spending two nights on the West Coast this way you’ll have two full days to explore the area. Luckily, the R27 road out of Cape Town along the West Coast is by far not as busy and crazy as the N1, N2, or N7 on Friday evening. Once you’re past Table View you will hardly see any traffic.

A small fisherman's house on the West Coast of South Africa
The incredible sky and the endless coastline of the West Coast of South Africa

Day 1. Cape Town – Langebaan/Paternoster

If you start driving early enough you might make it in time for the sunset in Langebaan. In August – September the sunset is between 6 pm and 6.30 pm. After the sunset, enjoy dinner with fresh seafood or fish and local wine. 

Places to stay in Langebaan

Places to stay in Paternoster

Day 2. Exploring the Coastal Flower Route

Start your day with breakfast and coffee at one of the local restaurants. In Langebaan, we can suggest Pearly’s Restaurant on the waterfront. Junk and Disorderly Bakery is a great breakfast place in Paternoster.

After breakfast, you can spend some time on the beach before heading to West Coast National Park which is just a couple kilometers away. Late morning – afternoon, between 1 am and 4 pm, is the best time for watching the flowers. At the entrance gate, there might be a queue of cars you should be prepared to spend some time waiting to get in. There are several short hiking trails inside the park that you can follow. Walking across the fields is the best way to enjoy the flowers. You can spend a couple of hours in the park.

In the afternoon spend some time exploring the West Coast, and drive to Jacobsbaai, Paternoster, and Cape Columbine Nature Reserve. At some places along the way, you can see more flowers. If you travel with children make sure to stop at The Pixie and Fairy Village in Jacobsbaai. It’s a magical place! Open daily from 8 am to 6 pm, admission fee – 20-30R.

A green toy castle built for Pixie and Fairy Land in Jacobs Bay
Pixie & Fairy Land in Jacobsbaai is a great place to visit with children

Paternoster is a great place to stop for lunch, it has some of the best seafood and fish restaurants in the area. We can recommend The Noisy Oyster and Voorstrandt. For a tasty wood-fired pizza with great views go to Blikkie Pizzeria in Paternoster.

In the evening enjoy a braai with a couple of glasses of wine. If you’re planning to braai make sure your guesthouse has a braai place (if you camp you’ll definitely have one). What kind of weekend is it without a traditional South African braai!?

Day 3. Langebaan/Paternoster – Darling – Cape Town

Have breakfast with the sea view at one of the restaurants. If you like beer and burgers on the way back to Cape Town drive through Darling. It’s a quick detour from the route. Darling Brew is a great place to stop. There you can combine beer tasting with a delicious meal. The brewery has a jungle gym for kids and allows well-behaved dogs. 

In spring the fields around the town are covered in flowers. Locally brewed beer, great food, and fields of flowers – the perfect way to finish your Namaqualand weekend. There are a couple of wine farms in the area that do tasting but they’re closed on Sundays and some on Saturdays as well. 

Flower fields in Namaqualand in spring
Sometimes just driving through Namaqualand you can see thousands of flowers along the road

Namaqualand flowers – the Cederberg route itinerary

If you don’t worry too much about being close to the sea and rather want to skip seasonal crowds in the West Coast National Park I’d recommend going to the Cederberg Mountains. It’s a more off-the-beaten-track destination with fewer people that has a couple of amazing places where you can see thousands of flowers outside National parks and reserves. It’s important to remember that if you decide to take this route it’s better to go mid-August – beginning September to see flowers in Nieuwoudtville and Biedouw Valley. 

Day 1. Cape Town – Citrusdal/Clanwilliam

You probably won’t be able to do much this day but drive from Cape Town to the place you’re going to stay. Whichever place you choose, Citrusdal or Clanwilliam both have nice indoor places to stay and amazing campsites. 

Places to stay in Citrusdal

Places to stay in Clanwillian

The view of the Baths Hot Springs in Citrusdal from a view-point
The Baths Hot Springs from the look-out point on one of the hiking trails

Day 2. Citrusdal/Clanwilliam – Nieuwoudtville – Biedouw Valley – Citrusdal/Clanwilliam

Go for breakfast at one of the local restaurants. In Citrusdal we can recommend The Grapevine Coffee Shop, it’s a small but cozy place that serves delicious breakfasts, coffee, and Rooibos tea. The area around Clanwilliam is famous for its Rooibos tea, don’t be surprised to see many tearooms there. 

If you stay in Citrusdal to visit both places you’ll have to drive about 400 km which will take you pretty much the whole day including stops for photos and lunch. From Clanwilliam, the distance is shorter, about 300 km. 

If you decide to visit both Nieuwoudtville and Biedouw Valley I’d suggest starting from Nieuwoudtville there is more than one place there to see the flowers. If you don’t have enough time to visit Biedouw Valley in the end you can always drive there the next day before you head back to Cape Town.

The fields of daisies in Namaqualand, South Africa
A colorful carpet of spring flowers in Namaqualand

Day 3. Citrusdal/Clanwilliam – Riebek Casteel – Cape Town

On the way back to Cape Town you can do a short detour to Riebek Casteel, a charming town with a couple of nice restaurants where you can stop for breakfast. We can recommend Beans About Coffee, a cozy cafe-roastery. They have great coffee (that they roast themselves), tasty breakfast, and delicious cakes. A couple of local farms are open on Sundays (Meerhof Wines, Riebeek Valley Wine & Co, Riebeek Cellars) for testing after breakfast you can visit some of them and try local wines.

If you have a longer holiday you can extend your road trip and explore more of the Northern Cape. This way you can combine the flower season in Namaqualand with a visit to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. August-September is the best time for safari drives there. 

Namaqualand flowers – useful Apps

  • for iPhone and Android – an offline map, you download a map for a country and use it offline for navigation.
  • iOverlander for iPhone and Android – works offline, and shows campsites in any selected area, we used it a lot in Namibia.
  • WestCoastWay is an app for iPhone and Android with a lot of info on the West Coast.
West Coast Way map
West Coast Way map. West Coast South Africa travel guide

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Marina Kilfoil

Tuesday 9th of May 2017

Hi there we are going to do the flower route in August / September 2017 can we use this West coast road trip as a guide for the flowers? Regards, \Marina

Saturday 13th of May 2017

Hello, Marina! Sorry for the late reply we were on a hike and just came back! To see the flowers you can take the same route but we'd suggest to include the area around Clanwilliam, Namaqua National park (near Kamieskroon) and West Coast National park (near Langebaan). We ourselves want to drive this way again in August-September for the flowers! Cheers!

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