It is around this time of year when the fynbos comes to life. During our dry, hot summers, many of the heath-like species of our floral kingdom do not adorn their finest colours, making the landscape somewhat drab and lacking in colour, but as the nights become cooler and the first autumnal rains arrive, that is when the annual change begins to happen – this is the start of the show.

For the readers who may already know of Grootbos, they’ll understand why this reserve near the Overberg coastline is special. It’s a sanctuary that preserves a pristine terrain, an incredible diversity of plant and tree species are protected here. Located near the town of Gansbaai, this is where you’re able to embark on a 4×4 excursion beyond the sea-facing hills to a magical hinterland, a place where great big Fountain bushes scent the area with their sweet-scented purple flowers, towering conebushes form a golden glow along the track with their vibrant foliage, and sugarbushes in bloom attract playful sugarbirds. Venturing deeper into the reserve lies a remnant of a bygone era, an ancient Milkwood forest. This isolated patch of afro-temperate growth adds such diversity to the reserve, another layer entirely.

This is the secret season at Grootbos, and it starts now.

Article written by

Justin Williams

Justin Williams is a born-and-bred Capetonian with a flair for writing. His icons include the late South African authors Lawrence Green, Eric Rosenthal and T.V. Bulpin, literary figures who continuously inspire him to cover the avenues of lifestyle, travel and nature in a local context. When Justin's not covering a story, he can be found in the mountains - he's a renowned wild food forager and is currently learning herbalism.