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Follow the Cape Floral route in the daisy season, accompanied by renowned photographer Chris Mattison, to witness the picturesque stunning meadows, with their incredible palette of colours.

This tour is designed for keen photographers and nature enthusiasts, with personalised tuition in macro and landscape photography techniques. It is an opportunity to experience the Cape’s key highlights through your camera lens as you visit Cape Peninsula, the floristic West Coast and Northern Cape, explore the dramatic and historic Cederberg region and get a taste of Cape Wineland. 

Typical itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart UK

  2. Day 2: Arrive Cape Town & visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

    We transfer to our hotel, situated within Cape Town’s famous waterfront area, and settle in. This afternoon we visit Kirstenbosch, the oldest botanical gardens in South Africa. It is an ideal place to see plants from all of South Africa’s natural biomes.

    Accommodation: Cape Town Waterfront, 2-nights

  3. Day 3: Cape Peninsula

    Today is a full day exploration of Cape Peninsula, part of Table Mountain National Park.  We tour the famous Atlantic Seaboard, including upmarket Clifton and Camps Bay, and at Hout Bay we take a 30-minute boat cruise to Seal Island to see the breeding colony of Cape fur seals.

    Later we visit Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. This area is famous for its botanical diversity, and we can have a close up look at ‘fynbos’, the collective name for thousands of species that thrive here. Here there are fantastic opportunities for macro photography. We then tour the scenic False Bay coastline.

  4. Day 4: The West Coast

    We pack up and head north through the Swartland, a region which offers good displays of wildflowers. Later we turn west towards the coast, where we visit Lamberts Bay and the famous Bird Island. From a hide we can observe over 10 000 breeding pairs of Cape gannets and other birds from close-up.

    Tonight we stay at a guest farm which offers delicious meals and comfortable lodging, the perfect base for exploring nearby flowering areas.

    Accommodation: Vredendal, 2-nights

  5. Days 5-5 : Flowering Bulbs on the Highlands

    We spend the day in the nearby Nieuwoudville area (known as the ‘Bulb Capital of the World’), with superb opportunities to photograph endemic plants in flower. This region lies on the highlands, near the edge of the escarpment, with different rainfall patterns and varying soil types, creating perfect conditions for amazing botanical diversity. There are often spectacular mass displays of wildflowers here.

  6. Days 6-9 : Spring Flowers of Namaqualand

    Today we travel into the heart of Namaqualand. This is a semi-desert region, so wildflower displays depend on the rainfall patterns during the preceding winter months.
    Our base for the next four nights is the tiny village of Kamieskroon, where we stay in the homely Kamieskroon Hotel. From here we can reach a diverse range of flowering areas; from the extensive flowering plains of Namaqualand National Park and the Springbok area, to the colourful natural “rockeries” in the mountains and succulents on the coast.

    We go on full-day outings during our stay here, and the itinerary will be adjusted depending on where the best flowers are at the time, and daily weather conditions. Typically we will take a packed lunch each day.

    During our stay we visit the Geogap Nature Reserve and its superb Hester Malan Wildflower Garden.

    Accommodation:  Kamieskroon, 4-nights

  7. Day 10: Succulents of The Knersvlakte

    Today we travel southward over the vast quartz gravel plains of the Knersvlakete, with time to stop and observe endemic succulent plants and flowers from close-up. These tiny plants are ideal for macro photography. Tonight we stay in a homely guesthouse in Clanwilliam, where we enjoy a South African “braai” dinner.

    Accommodation:  Clanwilliam, 2-nights

  8. Day 11: The Cederberg: Wupperthal & the Biedouw Valley

    Today we head into the Northern Cederberg. There is an opportunity to hike the Sevilla Rock Art Trail, a five kilometre walk through several rock art sites dating back thousands of years, with impressive rock formations and endemic flowering plants to photograph. We stop in the remote mountain village of Wupperthal, where time seems to have stood still for the last hundred years.

  9. Days 12-13 : Central Cederberg

    We enjoy an exploration day in the centre of the Cederberg Wilderness Area, where we stay in self-catering cottages on a farm deep in the mountains. The mountains rise to over 2000 metres and offer superb landscape and flower photography opportunities. During our stay here we have the option to hike to some of the most impressive and famous rock formations. Should you prefer to take it easy, the area around the cottages offers plenty of photographic opportunities, and the option of relaxing in nature or swimming in the river. Our guide will do the catering, ranging from al fresco picnics to traditional “braai” dinners on the open fire.

    Accommodation:  Cederberg, 2-nights

  10. Day 14: Through the “Cape Fold Mountains”

    We travel south through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in South Africa. ‘Cape Fold Mountains’ is the collective name for the vast series of mountain chains pushed up and buckled by tectonic pressure. This region harbours a unique diversity of plants, and we have a closer look at some of the interesting species. One of the highlights is crossing Bainskloof Pass, an early wagon route, high over the mountains. 

    We base ourselves in the centre of Stellenbosch, in the Cape Winelands, for the last part of our tour.

    Accommodation: Stellenbosch, 1-night

  11. Day 15: False Bay, Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, then depart

    Today we tour along the scenic False Bay Coast to visit the Harold Porter Botanical Reserve at Kleinmond. There are many easy walks through different vegetation types, indigenous to the Cape. It is an easy way to view a cross-section of flowering plants from the Cape Mountains and coastline.

    In the afternoon we head to Cape Town International Airport for the flight home.

  12. Day 16: Arrive UK

You should note: If you wish to extend your stay, we recommend you consider spending more time in and around Cape Town or visiting the lovely coastal town of Hermanus, at the peak whale watching time. Please contact us for more details.

Key info

  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 16 days from £4,395 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 14 days from £3,395 pp
  • Single supplement: From £270
  • Group size: 10
  • When to go: Aug-Sep
  • Departures: Please contact us for departure date details.
  • Included in the price/package:
    • 7 nights hotel accommodation
    • 6 nights in cottage/farm/traditional guesthouse
    • All meals
    • Transfers
    • Services of UK leader, award-winning photographer and author
    • Services of local botanist guide
    • Macro photography tuition
  • Activities available:
    • Mountaineering
    • Nature drive
    • Photography
    • Walking

Expert leader

Chris Mattison

Photo of Chris Mattison

Chris has an honours degree in zoology from the University of Sheffield and specialises in natural history photography. He is a past Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and a member of several natural history societies.

Over the years he has made many field trips, independently and as a tour leader, to various parts of the world, including North, Central and South America, the Galapagos Islands, southern and East Africa, South East Asia and Madagascar.  His speciality is reptiles and amphibians but he has a broad interest in all aspects of natural history. He has lectured to audiences in England, Scotland, Wales, Sweden, Finland, Holland and the United States on natural history and nature photography and, since 1982, has written over 20 books and many magazine articles, mainly on reptiles and amphibians.

Featured locations:

Namaqualand

Namaqualand’s succulent flowers are blooming in the daisy season, covering the usually dry west coast and North Cape with beautiful colours. More than 4,000 plants species, including over 1,000 endemics, can be seen in Namaqua National Park, Goegap Nature Reserve or the Knersvlakte.

  • Where: West Coast & North Cape
  • Ideal for viewing: Hartmann’s mountain zebra, speckled Cape tortoise, aardwolf, Cape eagle owl, honey badger

Table Mountain National Park

The vast Table Mountain National Park, a UNESCO Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site, stretches from north of Cape Town down the Cape Peninsula to Africa’s south-western extremity, the Cape of Good Hope. It hosts Silvermine Nature Reserve, Boulders beach penguin colony and Table Mountain.

  • Where: Western Cape
  • Ideal for viewing: African penguin, southern right whale, Verreaux’s eagle, rock hyrax, Cape baboon
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife for families, Self-drive, Walking with wildlife, Whale watching, Penguin watching

Cederberg Wilderness Area

Covering 700 square kilometres, the Cederberg Wilderness Area is a haven for birds, flowers and other wildlife. The mountains, and areas of San rock art, are home to unique fynbos such as the endemic snow protea or rooibos, and laurel protea, while mammal species include aardvark and porcupine.

  • Where: Western Cape
  • Ideal for viewing: Cape baboon, bat-eared fox, meerkat, oryx, Cape mountain zebra
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife for families, Self-drive