West Coast National Park

Just went through my old DVD’s with pictures, to find out when was the last time that we visited the National park during Wild Flower season. Wow, 2008!…can it really be that long ago? So it’s time to make a plan and go again.
We planned to go with 4 couples that are our very good friends so that meant renting a spacious house for a weekend. Something we found in Yzerfontein… 4 bed with en-suite bathrooms, big kitchen and living and an entertainment room with a pool table. But the best of all was the inside and outside braai and the balcony with an amazing seaview… and we were just one street up from the beach!
The last weekend of august we left the Stellenbosch Winelands for some fresh sea breeze and colorful daisies.

The drive doesn’t take us more than 1.5 hours. The road to Malmesbury and further on to Darling is calming and at this time of the year you will see lots of Canola flowering everywhere…a golden glow in a peaceful country…and even on a Friday afternoon there is hardly any traffic driving up.
We stop a few times to take pictures and sing along -as much as we can remember the words- with the Beach Boys, whose music reverberates loudly through our car….

We make a short stop in Darling at the Darling Brew, which is in the middle of the main road. Here we meet our friends and have a beer….before we all hit the road and go to Yzerfontein. (read the Darling Brew story in Eat and Drink)

The plan for the Saturday is to visit the West Coast National Park. Opening the shutters and curtains my eyes meet a soft grey and no it wasn’t my husband ….it was the Atlantic ocean and the Sky above that had melted into each other. With this cool temperature and hardly any sun it’s not the best weather to go see the Wild Flowers…

Talking in the kitchen about what to do now… I start snacking on cake, because it seems that the Mexican Breakfast is going to take forever…but as we all know “a good job takes time”…and that is what our friend does… waiting for the tomato sauce to thicken so he can boil the eggs in it! Eventually it takes up so much of the morning that we can see some sunray’s shining through the cloudy sky…more to the north it looks like the clouds are opening up and that it will be a very sunny day after all.

No cue when we arrive at the entrance of the National Park.  We all did our homework so we know we must head north to visit the private area of the park, The Postberg. Along the road there are some flowers, not much, so with every different color we saw popping out of the green, someone would shout…the driver would stop and we would take pictures…but what a waste of time!
Entering ‘Postberg’ driving up the hill towards the sun it looks amazing…but turning our heads and looking behind us we are overwhelmed. Carpets of white flowers with patches of light blue and bright orange cover the hills like rivers flowing to the sea. With every turn now we see different flowers from red, purple, blue, orange, yellow and white with hearts of golden yellow…the “ooehs” and the “aaahs” are followed by the clicking and zooming noises of our cameras. We take some pics with our cellphone to send them quickly to our family to impress them….because we have to share this phenomenal beauty of South African nature!
I must be honest and say that this year is so much more colorful than the time we went there in 2008.

We loved the big herd of eland between the flowers, the ‘springbokkies’ that looked like they were having the time of their life and the ‘bontebokke’ that stood out so beautifully in the white flowers, that it almost looked as if they were standing in the snow… We were surprised to see that a tortoise was eating only the yellow flowers, the ones that look golden and buttery and seemed to taste yummy.
We drove slowly on, going downwards, following the seagulls to the coast…time to stretch our legs and sit for a while on sun warmed boulders…
The seagulls dive above our heads as we throw pebbles in the air …some of us dreaming away while the waves are crashing, making fountains of saltwater and white foam…like the bubbly Darling MCC in our glasses…

We head back to Yzerfontein, have a quick visit at Beulah padstal where we buy some different salami sausages and enjoy the local handmade ice-cream and Darling toffees. After a walk in Yzerfontein village and along the coast it’s great to relax on the balcony waiting for the sun to  dip into the ocean… we all enjoy a glass of wine from Stellenbosch and warm ourselves by sitting close to the fire….

A continental breakfast on Sunday makes an end to a great weekend … hope to meet my friends and the flowers again …next year!

Tips from the Winelands, Western Cape
By Zeelandhuys