Acres of wildflowers within Western Cape National Park
Images from a fantastic September 2016 self drive tour around South Africa's Western Cape (with a brief sojourn over the Mountains into Northern Cape and Namaqualand). With route prearranged with help from www.audleytravel.com taking in miles of empty roads, wonderful scenery, clean air and opportunity to meet some great people.
Fynbos was spectacular with hectares of wild blooms in the Western Cape. In the North a drying wind had reduced the blooms in Nieuwoudtville, but this worked to our advantage as during a guided tour farmer Willem proudly showed us the "little" things within the magical Papkuilsfontein Farm.
With gardens full of birds, Betty's Bay providing penguins, a visit to Cape Agulhas the most Southerly tip of Africa and (despite being a little early for the mass influx of whales), boat trips and land views giving a flavour of what could be available; this was an exceptional visit full of photo opportunity and a great taster for potential future visits.
African (Black) Oyster Catcher on bed of mussels. Paternoster beach.
Grey Tit with caterpillar - Paternoster beach.
Cape Bulbul - West Coast National Park.
Bokmakierie Bush Shrike with beetle - West Coast National Park
Cross looking Cape Weaver collecting grass. West Coast National Park.
West Coast National Park - Fynbos Panorama - flowers mainly Arctotis or Arctotheca commonly known as capeweed, plain treasure flower, cape dandelion or cape marigold as they originate from here: The Cape Province of South Africa. (note tiny vehicles towards top Right corner).
Fynbos flowers - full bloom. West Coast National Park.
Fynbos flowers - mass tangle of wild Arctotis / Arctotheca. West Coast National Park.
West Coast National Park - Hill in flower with Fynbos.
Bontebok Buck in flowers. West Coast National Park.
West Coast National Park - Natural rock formations - Panorama.
West Coast National Park - Incredible natural rock structures.
Cape Mountain Zebra. Small herd in flowers - West Coast National Park
Karoo Prinia with insect - West Coast National Park.
Lesser Flamingoes, West Coast National Park.
Lesser Flamingo, West Coast National Park.
Photogenic truck cab Papkuilsfontein.
Rugged Landscape Papkuilsfontein - Life must have been difficult for the original settlers. Panorama.
Lone Chacma baboon (Chacma baboons, the world's most southerly-occurring primates) on rocky outcrop. Papkuilsfontein Nieuwoudtville, Namaqualand, Northern Cape.
Random flowers Papkuilsfontein Farm - An estimated 3,000 bulbs and bulblets could be in any sq metre of this soil. All flower images on page are wild and untended.
Another Arctotis - Willem proudly led the tour advising we had missed the best of the swathes of flowers - this however was to our advantage as he showed incredible knowledge pointing out and discussing the smaller individual plants. Here varying number of petals - Papkuilsfontein Farm.
Beautiful and fragile looking flowers with tiny heads - Nemesia ligulata - Papkuilsfontein Farm.
Bright coloured and sweet scented Gladiolus alatus or possibly Gladiolus speciosus with ornate and beautiful flower head - Papkuilsfontein Farm.
Crocus sized flowers of Babiana angustifolia, Babiana is from the Dutch name for baboon (babiaan) as baboons were observed to eat the corms - Papkuilsfontein Farm.
Flowers: Lilac-purple flowers on broom, Papkuilsfontein.
Ruschia diversifolia from Mesembryanthemaceae family, though some past their best, succulents still had amazing flowers - Papkuilsfontein,
Succulent bush in full flower, Mesembryanthemaceae family plant, probably Lampranthus, or maybe vredenburgensis - Papkuilsfontein.
Succulent flowers under rock, Lampranthus probably multiradiatus - Papkuilsfontein.
Tiny Stone-plant (Conophytum obcordellum) night flowering and scented to attract moth pollinators, growing wild amongst lichens on the exposed rocks.
Drosera cistiflora - with poor soil conditions some flowers had come up with unique ways to obtain food such as this Insectivorous Plant with sticky dew globules on stem and leaves - Papkuilsfontein Farm.
Drosera cistiflora, flowers can be white, yellow, mauve or dark red: Here different flower colour on adjacent plants. Papkuilsfontein Farm.
Aloe mitriformis with large red flower in bloom - Papkuilsfontein Farm.
Proteaceae - Protea laurifolia with large flowers - Papkuilsfontein.
What I thought was a spent sugarbush flower. This Protea nitida has stamens opening revealing more nectar and pollen for the beetles and insects. Papkuilsfontein.
Abandoned truck being overtaken by nature: In this case an escapee from the garden Opuntia robusta a cactus originally from Mexico, De Landes guesthouse, Nieuwoudtville, Northern Cape.
Abandoned cottages, De Lande, Nieuwoudtville.
Abandoned cottages, inside looking out: De Lande, Nieuwoudtville.
Abandoned cottages, external, De Lande, Nieuwoudtville.
Delicate and tiny two coloured florets from plant - De Lande Guest House.
Rainbow over derelict buildings - squall in the distance - De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Incredible sand dunes. De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Southern Right Whale spyhopping - as seen from De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Southern Right Whale breaching - as seen from De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Southern Right Whale landing with a splash - as seen from De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Cape Bulbul pair. De Hoop Nature Reserve, these next few bird images taken hand held during walk.
Cape Spurfowl - De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Southern Double Collared Sunbird - De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Little Stint. De Hoop Lagoon.
Bontebok - De Hoop Nature Reserve allowed walking trails and beach walks with big animals grazing freely allowing (reasonably) close up photo’s while on foot or from car.
Male Ostrich in mating livery with red legs. Image taken early morning with bird just outside our rented cottage. De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Eland Calves scampering and playing in the rain - De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Eland Nursing. De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Eland calf - very young with umbilical cord remains still attached - still old enough to have picked up a few ticks. De Hoop.
Cape Mountain Zebra with dark brown stripes huddled together in the rain - De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Cape Shoveler pair De Hoop.
Fishing boats - Struisbaai.
Crewing up the fishing boat - Struisbaai.
Cape Canary singing away. Cape Agulhas.
Signpost - Southernmost tip of Africa - Cape L'Agulhas - a very nice place.
Lighthouse Cape Agulhas - Blue sky's and empty roads.
Sunset from balcony of the excellent Cliff Lodge B+B. De Kelders.
Speckled Mousebird pair. Cliff Lodge gardens. De Kelders.