Nine excited passengers departed from the Blaauwberg Beach Hotel on Thursday 9th September, all with thoughts of what awaited us on our 5 day flower tour. The West Coast National Park, and Postberg in particular, did not disappoint. On arrival Tea and Coffee was enjoyed at Tsaarsbank and this set the tone for a happy day. The flowers in the park were magnificent after the recent rains in the Western Cape and everyone enjoyed the sighting of these blooms. We enjoyed a picnic lunch at the viewpoint over Langebaan, and after this the group checked into the Darling lodge guest house. Dinner followed at Ciao, an Italian restaurant in Darling.
Next morning, we had an appointment at Duckitt Orchids, and this didn’t disappoint either – in fact, it never does! Bloom after bloom had us all gasping at the beauty of the orchids. Coffee/Wine tasting at the Darling Wine Cellarwas an interlude before we went looking for canola and arums! Lunch at Marmalade Cat also very delicious. After lunch we spent time at Darling Sweets, and Evita se Perron.
The cherry-on-the-top of the tour was our dinner at Kossie Sikelela – a new fine dining restaurant on Evita se Perron – a true gourmet experience of note thoroughly enjoyed by the group. Thanks, Hentie and Frits and good luck with this fabulous new restaurant in Darling.
On Saturday we woke up to an overcast cool day – very cloudy and we took a gravel road from Darling to Hopefield– very excited as we found a fabulous patch of canola – WOW the yellow colour on a grey day really brought smiles to everyone. Hopefield & their Saturday pop-up market was a highlight – coffee and pannekoek and time to sit and chill and buy a few foodies items to take home. We spent a short time at Zoute River organic farm before lunch at HELLO where Ilse and her staff are always so hospitable.
We then checked the group into Blue Bay Lodge and dinner was in a rather cold dining room – pity as they had a fabulous fire burning but with no tables close by to enjoy the heat of a rather cold night!
Sunday and another cloudy morning – so we took a drive down to the Laaiplek harbour – interestingly a restauranteur came out holding up a “Coffee and Pannekoek” sign – pity we’d all had breakfast, but he seized the opportunity to market his business, when he saw the coach! Time spent in Bokkom Laan is always ‘different’ and after this, flamingos added to the joy of photographers. We headed out on the Elands Bay road discovering a patch of bright red flowers – fabulous to see! Lunch at Draaihoek Lodge was fabulous – many went for their Snoek tart which was quite large, leaving many saying – “No dinner tonight” – after this Marietjie and staff served us a Sandveld baklava – delicious – & so thoughtful of Draaihoek! (Sadly, our coach got tangled in the bushes coming up the drive and the left hand mirror was broken off – but thanks to Hylton Ross by the time we got back to Blue Lodge a replacement 25-seater was waiting so as not to hamper our tour!)
Sunday evening, we went to the Musselcracker Restaurant at the Protea Hotel in Saldanha where everyone loved the view from the patio.
Monday morning and we were all packed up sadly as this was our last day on tour – TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN…………a short time was spent in Paternoster visiting the Panty Bar / a bit of shopping / and time down at the Crayfish Wharf where sadly security allowed us to enter the bottom parking and we were then ‘rudely’ told to move to the outside parking; in the time we were there – not a single vehicle came into the parking area!
Another negative aspect was that on entry to Paternoster our coach was stoned – a couple of delinquent teenagers! Anyway, a talk with someone at the Paternoster hotel who said he would talk to the headman in the area and sort this out – could have been tragic as the stone hit the upper window and not one of the lower ones!
The cherry-on-the-top was our drive from Velddrif to Hopefield in search of flowers (recommended by the West coast flower line) – initially Charl (our coach driver) and Brian and I thought them to be incorrect – but mid-way a spectacle of flowers blooming in the veld – fabulous indeed.
We had the group back at the Blaauwberg Beach Hotel by 16:30 – and what started out as a group of 9 people with only a few knowing each other – was almost like ‘family-saying-goodbye’ – amazing how happy everyone was after the tour!
“What a lonely place it would be to have a world without a wildflower!”
― Roland R Kemler