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Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show
Recharge with a week in the countryside
For many, the annual August Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show in the Western Cape readily conjures up mental images of ‘older ladies’ in gardening gear and rubber gloves debating the merits of Earl Grey.
And while we can say, yes, the event attracts flower and gardening enthusiasts alike, we can also affirm that this fynbos and flora fair will ring in the spring season with a bit of gusto.
The experience is in keeping with a country festival, and while the kaleidoscope of flowers is the main attraction, there is an as vivid assortment of additional activities on offer. Taking place from Friday, 24 August until Friday, the 31 August 2012, this week-long fair promises outdoor fun, includes an organic-foodie haven, features local beers and wines, and plays host to creative classes in a soul-rejuvenating setting.
Clanwilliam is a small, Western Cape town snugly tucked away between the Olifants River and the Cederberg mountains - about 200 kilometres north of Cape Town. It is a town known for its beautiful blooms, and, as early as the 1940s, the townspeople have organised flower shows on a somewhat irregular basis.
Owing to its widely variable topography, Clanwilliam boasts an incredible range of flora, and its flower show is a prime opportunity to view the mosaic of wild flowers in one spot. This takes careful planning and organisation months beforehand, as flowers must be correctly moved and replanted in the festival site (the more tender plants only gathered during the last days before the show).
Though, the hard work is certainly well worth it; about 400 flower species from 32 families are exhibited annually at the Clanwilliam Flower Show – some species being completely unique to the town.
The Clanwilliam Flower Show Turns 40
This year, the Clanwilliam Flower Show turns 40, and in honour of four decades of technicolour blooms, the organisers are pulling out all the stops. Regeneration, to complement the overall focus on biodiversity, is the theme this year; thus, there will be a “slow living” market with arts and crafts, food and beverages and much more.
Additionally, in keeping with the “Regeneration” theme, local schools have been creating decorative flowers from discarded odds and ends, a project that aligns with the trendy concept of Upcycling. These flower creations will be displayed during the festival in the flea market area, and prizes will be given out. What’s more, the kiddies have been busy creating funky fashion items from trash - dubbed ‘Trashion’. These items will be for sale, and proceeds go to the schools. It’s a win-win venture, and we love it!
What to expect at the festival:
- The ‘Regeneration’ Country-Style Flea market
Look out for local produce, arts and crafts, foodie goodies, interesting inventions, Trashion stations and more.
- The Flower Show
- Rooibos tea ceremonies
- “Game Drive” vehicle rides to view flowers in the wild: the show is just the beginning, the real magic lies in seeing these flowers in the fresh.
- Creative classes
- Historic walks
Having travelled to this beautiful part of the world, it may be worth your while to take in some of the other activities available in the area
Activities in the area:
- Horse Riding
- /Xam (San) paintings
- Rock climbing – the Cederberg is one of the world’s top bouldering destinations
- Restaurants and coffee shops
- Mountain biking
- Donkey cart rides to the historic town of Heuningvlei (including lunch)
Tickets for the flower show are available at the door and range from R30p/p for adults, R25p/p for pensioners and R5p/p for children. Also check out the Clanwilliam flower festival website for local advice on accommodation.
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By Aisling Holmes