When the Cape West Coast is transformed into a bright carpet of blooming veld flowers after the annual winter rain season, nature lovers from across the country and abroad flock there to catch a glimpse of the spectacular scenery.
While the upcoming spring season from early August to the end of September sets many a small town alive with activity, homeowners use this period with an increased amount of traffic to either place their properties on the market or prepare it for lucrative holiday rentals. Locals say they benefit from increased trade and tourism during this high season period as visitors come from afar to view the magnificent veld flowers, and most industries see a marked increase in turnover during this period.
Capetonians are known to make short day trips while visitors from upcountry and abroad include the West Coast’s many nature reserves on extended travel itineraries. Visitors to this area known to be a rugged semi desert during summer, generally stay between three to five days as they move up the coast and inland.
Property agent Hein Kotzee of Chas Everitt International Property Group Langebaan says the flower season compares well with the summer festive season, when property sales may not necessarily rocket but when buyers often stop to invest in holiday homes while en route. He says Langebaan does not offer buyers many entry level properties, but rather houses valued at R1 million and above. The economic downturn resulted in the Langebaan Rate Payers Association in mid 2010 reporting approximately 3 000 developed and sold plots which have not yet been built on. This is resulting in current bargains of plot purchases as low as R150 000 compared to original purchases of around R500 000 for properties measuring between 7000msq to 1000 msq.
Another benefit of viewing West Coast properties during the spring flower period is that it coincides with the whale season, when whales spotting can be done from July through to September. Other attractions to this region during spring include a number of cultural festivals, such as the West Coast Peninsula Rainbow Flower Celebration and the Berg River Winter Carnival that coincides with the 50th Berg River Canoe Marathon in Velddrif, as well as the annual Rittelfees music festival in October that draws more than 40 000 visitors to the area.
One of the main attractions along the flower route is the West Coast National Park that surrounds the Langebaan Lagoon, where the popular Club Mykonos marina and yacht club are located. The flower routes are along the R27 from Capetown to Langebaan over a distance of 120km, and inland along the N7 north via Clanwilliam across 200km to Springbok, which is a further 330km. Another highly recommended route is a gravel road along the R364 that takes visitors through the section between Clanwilliam and Nieuwoudtville where not only beautiful flowers but also residential and agricultural properties can be seen.
Small towns offer residents local amenities and public facilities including schools within close proximity of far reaching areas. This region also boasts a fine wine producing area, and is home to three of the SA’s largest wine cellars, Namaqua Wines, Klawer Wine Cellars and Lutzville Vineyards.