We started off this series in the Cape Winelands and moved along the coast to explore rare flora in various nature reserves. This now brings us to the honey capitals, Stanford and Gansbaai. The area is home to the beatific Fynbos Trail that traverses Grootbos and Walker Bay Nature Reserves providing unparalleled access to the region's endangered flora.
So without further ado, let’s see what will make your nature-loving heart skip a beat.
Well, not just fynbos, but also citrus, strandveld, buchu, buffalo thorn and many more! The Overberg Honey Co., situated on the outskirts of Stanford makes use of the unique setting to keep their hives happy and disease-free. Visitors can take part in guided tours of the facilities as well as honey tastings. They offer a vast range of edible and cosmetic products, however, if you love your raw honey pop in and grab the 2L bucket of golden bliss.
Fynbos Retreat has several beehives on the premises that make use of the copious amounts of nectar Leucadendron tinctum stands produce.
GANSBAAI / STANFORD
Grootbos Nature Reserve
Is a world-renowned private reserve that featured in NatGeo’s ‘Unique Lodges of the World’. This magnificent reserve is home to 800 floral species and one of the Cape’s last White Milkwood forests. One of the highlights of this reserve is the option to do a guided 2/3 day hike (The Fynbos Trail) that will leave you far more knowledgeable about the Fynbos biome. If you are lucky enough to do this during winter, you will come across a mountain range covered in pink Erica irregularis. The latter is endemic to the area (occurs nowhere else) and blooms by the hundreds during winter months.
For a glimpse at their breathtaking floral display visit:
If you love yourself some trees then you must have stumbled upon Greenpop’s Reforest Fest. The nonprofit originally co-founded by SA musician Jeremy Loops, hosts a festival each year where volunteers can help repopulate indigenous forests. Platbos was the 2017 host, where volunteers got to broaden the previous dwindling forest. It is home to ancient (800-year-old) Milkwood trees, natural honey bee colonies and a staggering number of birds.
The owners have developed a small indigenous tree nursery where visitors can still acquire and plant a tree or sponsor a tree online.
To view a video of Reforest fest click here.
Platbos forest boasts one of the oldest White Milkwood trees on record.
Phillipskop Nature Reserve
Tucked away on the Klein River Mountain, Phillipskop Nature Reserve encompasses 246 ha of sandstone fynbos and iconic rock art. The reserve is home to a number of carnivorous plants including Cape-, Small-, Spoon-, Guitar-, Sprawling- and Fewflower sundews. In addition the park manager, Christopher Whitehouse offers guided walks on the reserve. At the time of publishing, all the reserves are still closed due to Covid-19, however the Phillipskop Nature Reserve has been posting free online videos for those of you at home.
To view the free Phillipskop fynbos tours online click here.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
In order to catch a glimpse of the rare Erica displays, one would have to visit the area in winter (June/July), however early spring brings its own displays of Leucadendron tinctum and Serruria if one prefers to miss the rainy weather.
Travel time: 4 hour round trip (subject to traffic)
Look out for: Erica irregularis, Serruria spp., sundews, Protea longifolia
Important info: The access to Fynbos Retreat (part of the Fynbos Trail) and Platbos is via gravel roads and a high clearance vehicle is advised. Phillipskop NR, Platbos and Fynbos Retreat is open to day visitors. Note that cellphone reception may be unpredictable at times and it is advised to download the map beforehand.
Protea longifolia in bloom during late winter.
(1) Privett, S. (2013, January 17). Mid-summer flowers in the fynbos. Fynbos hub. http://www.fynboshub.co.za/fynbos-diversity/mid-summer-flowers-in-the-fynbos-2/