If you're a Capetonian or just visiting our little spot of paradise (you're welcome, but aren't you sad you don't live here?), and you have a hankering to "see the flowers" as we in the Mother city are wont to say, you don't need to embark on "The Great Trek" to the far north. The flowers are virtually on our/your doorstep - in the West Coast National Park.
The park is about 120km from the city - an hour's drive - and well worth a visit right now, since the flower season is open and thanks to good rains, the flowers are playing their part and coming out to show you what they can do.
I went up earlier this week, courtesy of an invitation from SANParks to the media.
We all met at Geelbek restaurant (to which we later returned for an excellent lunch and - for me, anyway, just a couple of glasses of excellent wine) before we all trekked off around the park and to Postberg.
I'm not sure how many tortoises I saved from being squashed, but it was a lot; they're all over the place.
Geelbek... Just the spot for an excellent meal, great wine and a wonderful wedding.
We were there for the flowers, and I'll just let the images do the talking - and don't even think of asking their names, I haven't a clue; I just enjoyed the colours... It's as though God had spilt paint over the landscape.
That aside, however, the park has a wide variety of wildlife and birdlife. According to the website, "Interesting things to seek in the West Coast National Park include eland, red hartebeest, cape grysbok, caracal and rock hyrax. Bird watchers can spot waders, black harrier and flamingos amongst many others from three bird hides in the park." The website also suggests that if you're a history buff, you might like to do a search for Eve's footprint.
On our trip around the park, we also spotted what I think were bat-eared foxes, which I always thought are nocturnal, but in this case, weren't.
No, I don't know what it is either, and it wasn't sticking around to let me know.
Postberg Reserve, which borders a SANDF base, has its share of wildlife and the added attraction that from August to November, you can do a bit of whale watching from Tsaarsbank overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Back at Geelbek restaurant, which is in a Cape Dutch building dating back to 1744, you can enjoy traditional food including a range of dishes that have Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian, Malay and Italian influences. If the "Oohs" and "Aahs" were anything to go by, my fellow media representatives enjoyed their lunch.
The restaurant's hours are from 0900-1700, seven days a week, but you'd better book.
More information at http://www.geelbek.co.za/restaurant.htm and you make contact on +27 (0) 22 772 2134 Fax. +27 (0) 22 772 1415. Alternatively e-mail the restaurant , book and plan your wedding at , or enjoy Sensations . I'm not sure what the latter is or are, but it all sounds very interesting. Postal address is PO Box 520 Langebaan 7357.
(The phone lines are, according to the restaurant's website, as antiquated as the building, so be patient - it will be worth it.)
Oh, and by the way, Geelbek's apparently a very popular wedding venue, so if you're thinking along the route of getting hitched for life, you'd have to look a long way for a more idyllic venue. Just make sure you put your plans in place well before time, and contact Geelbek sooner rather that later. Or you can just get married in your local church. Your choice...
Some of the rock formations are worth a look as well.
Rod Baker is Content Director at Bizcommunity.com. A journalist since before computers, he worked on a wide range of magazines and, in his youth, rose through the ranks from being a lowly and abused sub-editor, to a high and still abused editor and publisher. He has been editor and publisher of a number of magazines, as well as a newspaper. He has edited many books, and written a number too. Email him at .
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