There must be something magic about witnessing tightly knit flower buds revealing their soft petals to the warmth of the sun. Opening in brilliant hues of purple, gold, and magenta, the spring flower fields draw savvy weekenders to the Northern Cape on a yearly West Coast wildflower pilgrimage.
Wildflowers are wonderful, but as all good pilgrims know, holistic experiences need to tick all the proverbial boxes. After a full day frolicking amidst colorful flower fields, it’s a treat to return to a warm cozy bed and delicious home-cooked meal. And between frolics, to enjoy other adventures, making the most of those coveted Leave Days. These four lodges offer not only wildflowers, but also a welcome atmosphere, incredible food, and an array of enticing activities.
1. Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge | Clanwilliam
Okay, so Cederberg Ridge is not technically positioned on the exact field where the flowers bloom, but it has so much to recommend it (in very close proximity to the flowers) that it is an ESSENTIAL stop on any flower itinerary.
This boutique lodge is centrally located, set high on a ridge overlooking Clanwillian and Cederberg, allowing access to flowers on both the West Coast and Biedouw Valley sides. Sweeping mountain views create an idyllic backdrop for sophisticated yet earthy interiors. Double volume steel doors open to the iconic Cederberg mountains in burnt orange and green, a palette repeated in the layered texture-rich interiors. At night, the deep veranda glows with lanterns and each room is warmed by an individual fireplace. All of this lends a ‘home away from home’ feel to the boutique lodge, and makes a person want to stay a while.
When booked in advance, the lodge can arrange guided flower excursions, allowing enthusiastic flower goers to experience wildflowers in varied landscapes. After a long day in the field, expect a world-class gourmet supper paired with the best wines in the Cape. Rounding off the list of delights, there are two pools (sunset/sunrise), rooms with wood fired hot tubs, a daily spa menu, and endless mountain biking/hiking trails. Cederberg Ridge is an experience you simply cannot miss.
Author’s note: I was stranded here with car issues, and the management went out of their way to arrange transport for my car to the local mechanic, get it fixed, and help with booking an extra night. That’s going above and beyond – 10 stars.
2. Papkuilsfontein Guest Farm | Niewoudtville
If you are willing to drive to Northern Cape proper (about 4 hours from Cape Town), Papkuilsfontein offers the ultimate South African farm stay paired with direct access to endless wildflower fields. One of the earliest farms in the Onder-Bokkerveld, Papkuilsfontein was established in 1742. It is currently owned and run by Mariette and Willem van Wyk – who both bring a raw, warm authenticity to the place which adds to the allure of its long history. Dubbed by Greenwood Guides as ‘the most memorable place to stay in South Africa,’ Papkuilsfontein farm is so good that I have been back several times throughout the year – and I’ll be going back again soon.
Each of the three historical stone cottages offers seclusion and crazy amazing stargazing opportunities, after the flower fields have closed their buds for the day. The self-catering units are off the grid, yet fully equipped with gas refrigerators, stoves and a traditional open kitchen fireplace for warmth and atmosphere. Deep sleep is a promised treat, as Mariette van Wyk is a passionate curator of fine bed linens.
That is, if you are lucky and the cows have gone out in search greener pastures. All part of the charm.
No review of Papkuilsfontein would be complete, of course, without extremely enthusiastic mention of the incredible food whipped up by Mariette and Alrie. Delivered warm to the door of your candle lit cottage, each meal is a delightful taste sensation. Our menu consisted of fragrant ‘melt off the bone’ lamb, farm-to-table zucchini, candied carrots, and a ginger/pecan pie with fresh cream. Need I say more?
Canvas Collective Africa | Biedouw Valley
Canvas Collective Africa just launched one of the most exciting concept lodges to hit the Western Cape – ever. Seasoned safari camp veterans Dez Lundy & Samara Stern created a fully mobile ultra-luxury camp which moves throughout the year to carefully chosen, seasonally idyllic locations. From July-September, the camp will be perfectly positioned amidst vast fields of blooming wildflowers in the Biedouw Valley. For seasoned flower pilgrims, you can’t secure better access than this.
Despite the perfect location, the joys of Canvas Collective are not limited only to flowers. After a long day shooting happy flowery snaps, the staff at CCA lights a roaring fire where sunset drinks are served under the open sky – in true safari style. Each canvas tent is plush and cozy, contemporary and wonderfully warm with electric blankets and fan heaters. Breakfast can be served in bed, paired with a glass of chilly bubbles or piping hot coffee.
Dedicated foodies will enjoy the fulfilment of all that the heart desires in The Field Kitchen. This glass paneled kitchen/dining area is a cornerstone of the unique flair Canvas Collective brings to the glamping game. Five-star gourmet meals are promised, with impressive wines and a full bar to match. If relaxation or romance is on the cards, a secluded wood fired hot tub awaits under a blanket of stars. Choose to enjoy it in total solitude or request the drink delivery service. At Canvas Collective, no desire goes unfulfilled.
4. Kersefontein | West Coast
Kersefontein is ideal for flower pilgrims traveling in families. As part of the West Coast ecosystem, flowers grow wild on the lawns and fields of this working wheat farm.
Kersefontein promises an authentic experience for all ages, by pure virtue of its host and history. Proprietor Julian Melck is the somewhat eccentric backdrop for your stay, and he seems to have endless capacity for hosting guests in what is essentially an extension of his personal home.
The kids will spend their days chasing chickens through wildflower fields, feeding pigs, petting horses, and mimicking the sounds of sheep bleating from their pens. You can bring a little picnic and feed them under the old oak trees while watching the Berg River slowly meander past.
In the evening, Julian hosts a formal dinner straight out of Africa circa 1920, with guests sharing a huge table in a decorous colonial dining room. The conversation is always interesting, as unique travelers ‘in the know’ join the melee of Julian’s personal tribe of academics. Night owls will enjoy music and conversation at the ‘aviation bar’ while weary parents sit back and let the silent night lull them to sleep.
Who can choose just one? For help discerning the ideal itinerary for you, feel free to contact us for free insights from a seasoned traveller.