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Candelabra in bloom

Destination Garden Route - Goukamma Nature Reserve

So this morning we went on a hike in the Goukamma Nature Reserve, near the coastal village of Buffalo Bay to see the candelabra in bloom.  It’s part of Cape Nature, and as such is well maintained and signposted.  The Bushpig Trail is a 6.5km. trail through coastal fynbos, dunes and along the beach.  Unspoilt beach we should rather say, only shared with seagulls, washed up bluebottles and regular pairs of oystercatchers.

One of the unique features of this particular trail is the self-powered ferry over the Goukamma River at the start and end of the trail.  You literally pull yourself across the coffee-coloured river before setting out to discover the diverse vegetation which has beautifully regrown after the fires of 2017. 

At this time of the year the Brunsvigia Orientalis, commonly known as Candelabra in English and rolbossie or perdespookbossie in Afrikaans is in full bloom.  This member of the amaryllis family flowers in February, March and April, while the rest of the year its bulb just rests underground. Our timing to see the candelabra in bloom therefore was perfect! The bud of this large bulb pushes up through the sand on its sturdy stem before a leaf can be seen.  The leaves are spread flat on the ground, while the flowers attract all the attention.  As the flowers fade it becomes papery and eventually the flower stem breaks away from the by then shriveled and dried out leaves, tumbling over the ground and scattering its seeds. These ‘balls’ blowing in the wind no doubt give rise to the Afrikaans name rolbossie.

The candelabra, aren’t they just gorgeous? 

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Cape Nature currently charges a R50p.p. conservation fee to enter the reserve.  There are six different trails in the reserve, from 4.2 to 15km.  The Bushpig Trail is 6.5km.  Bring water for on the trail, and a picnic basket to be enjoyed afterwards at one of the picnic tables on the river bank.  Bring your costumes and speedos to swim in the river, or even better, book one of the chalets to stay over for a night.  Or two 😊.  

For more info on the Goukamma Nature Reserve: https://www.capenature.co.za/reserves/goukamma-nature-reserve/