South Africa Table Mountain

The amazing West Coast National Park vegetation,
exotic plant species, stunning flower spectacle

Next to the safeguarding of the many thousands of migrating birds, the protection of the extraordinary and unique West Coast National Park vegetation was another major reason for the establishment of the Park.


These two attractions draw most of the Park's visitors, especially when the plants are flowering during spring time. Large areas of the Park are then covered with a stunning blanket of flowers of the most amazing hues and shades.

In spring the park is covered with a stunning blanket of flowers - West Coast National Park vegetation, South Africa National Parks
In spring the park is covered with a stunning blanket of flowers
West Coast National Park vegetation, South Africa National Parks

The Park's gorgeous display of wild flowers has been described by visitors as absolutely breathtaking. A display that changes constantly as colours and patterns transform from week to week when flowers diminish and numerous other varieties get into bloom. This wild flower spectacle can be viewed anytime between July and October. Although the best time to visit depends upon the weather, the months of August and September would be a good choice.

Close-up of the Park's gorgeous display of wild flowers - West Coast National Park vegetation, South Africa National Parks
Close-up of the Park's gorgeous display of wild flowers
West Coast National Park plantlife, South Africa National Parks

An interesting and locally well known specimen of the plants in the park is the kukumakranka (Gethyllis). The word kukumakranka is one of a number of words from the language of the ancient Khoikhoi people still in use in the region today. Quite interesting from a history point of view. The Gethyllis afra and the Gethyllis spiralis are the more common ones of the approximately 32 known species.

The Kukumakranka (Gethyllis), a beautiful and well known plant species in the park - West Coast National Park vegetation, South Africa National Parks
The Kukumakranka (Gethyllis), a beautiful and well known plant species in the
West Coast National Park vegetation, South Africa National Parks
Photograph by Andrew Deacon

These intriguing plants all feature an underground bulb, thin leaves that are generally spirally turned or coiled and beautiful flowers which will make an appearance in summer once the leaves have gone. Its edible fleshy fruits in the form of club-shaped berries will appear from the ground in mid-winter. These have a strong, highly sweet and fruity aroma. Kukumakranka brandy, an alcoholic concoction produced from a handful of ripe fruits in a jar of witblits or brandy is well known by the local people as one of the early Cape remedies for an upset stomach.

The breathtaking sight of a sea of wild flowers covering large areas of the Park. - West Coast National Park vegetation, South Africa National Parks
The breathtaking sight of a sea of wild flowers covering large areas of the Park
West Coast National Park flowers, South Africa National Parks
Photograph by Andrew Deacon







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