Celebrate summer at Grootbos from 11 January - 30 April 2024 (excluding Easter holidays).
Erica Irregularis And The Winter Flora Of Grootbos
Each year, during the Secret Season, the pristine fynbos of Grootbos explodes into a spectacular showcase of diverse flora that surrounds our luxury lodges and villas. From now until August, the reserve erupts in a blanket of pink with the blooming of the rare Erica irregularis.
But what's more is the kaleidoscope of colour that comes with the other flora that begin flowering during this cooler season. Allow us to introduce you to the fascinating and beautiful world of winter blooms.
In the southwestern Cape, the summers are known for being hot and dry, characterised by south-easterly winds that carry very little moisture. This heat during the summer season is a period of maximum stress for plants and has resulted in many adaptations to survive the harsh conditions.
In contrast, the winter season is frequented by a succession of cold fronts which bring strong north-westerly winds and reliable rains that restore well-needed moisture to the soils. For many plants, it is the cooler winter season along with its rain that gives them the energy needed for their flower process.
Our Favourite Winter Blooms
Erica irregularis | Gansbaai erica
From winter to mid-spring, the usually invisible green foliage of the Erica begins flowering and transforms the mountainside into a breathtaking canvas of candyfloss pink. For a species that only occurs in this area, the Gansbaai erica completely commands the landscape when in flower. The reasons for its scarcity remain an enigma but are thought to be linked to the very specific coastal limestone soils of the area and a symbiotic relationship between plant, soil and a beneficial soil fungus known as mycorrhizae.
Protea obtusifolia | Limestone sugarbush
One of the more dramatic displays of winter flowering comes from the abundant limestone sugarbush. Found in huge numbers on the lower, sandy limestone soils of Grootbos this large protea comes to life just after the first rains of winter. As your guide drives you down the aptly named Protea Drive on your flower safari, enjoy the sight of the thousands of vibrant pink inflorescence that cover the landscape.
Disperis capensis | Granny’s bonnet
Discovering this unique orchid while exploring the reserve is always a highlight for those who visit Grootbos in winter. The story behind its striking appearance is one of trickery. Disguised to appear like a flower of the polygala, a flower with fair trade relationship with the carpenter bee where the bee is rewarded with nectar after pollinating the flower. The granny's bonnet boasts vivid, magenta flowers that mimic the polygala flower in shape and form, successfully attracting carpenter bees who anticipate a tasty treat, only to find they have been duped by the orchid.
Osteospermum moniliferum | Bietou bush
The bietou bush is a beacon of yellow sunshine in the winter. The bright yellow clusters of flowers attract a horde of hungry pollinators including our resident chacma baboons. Abundant on the lower slopes of Grootbos, this bright and happy member of the daisy family also produces a deliciously sweet scent. Don’t be surprised if your expert fynbos guide offers you a flower or berry to eat, they are tasty and the berries are very nutritious.
Experience The Winter Flora
These are just a few of our favourite winter blooms, but there is plenty more yet to be seen. We invite you to stay at Grootbos during our Secret Season to experience the world of fynbos like never before.
Explore the undulating landscapes on a guided 4x4 flower safari, allowing our expert guides to unveil the hidden treasures and intricate details of this remarkable botanical paradise. Hike along the flora-lined trails enjoying the fragrant scents that fill the air, and witness the winter flora in all its glory. Join our beekeeper in harvesting raw honey, produced predominantly from the pollen of erica irregularis, straight from the hives scattered throughout the reserve.
Explore and engage with the captivating winter flora of Grootbos with our transformative and immersive range of nature experiences.