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Whale Trail Flowers

Whale Trail Flowers

Whale Trail Flowers are not usually considered by most people who hike the De Hoop Whale Trail. Most people hike the trail for the dramatic weathered cliffs, glorious beaches, bird life and of course the prolific amount of Southern Right whales that frequent the coastline. Once on the trail they soon realize that the flora is as, if not more impressive than its fauna and scenery.

Fynbos flowers

The whale trail flowers are mostly associated with limestone soils along the coastal parts.  On the first 2 days in the mountains we find table mountain sandstone with a transition zone of mixed sand and limestone as we approach the coast.  The rare and endemic flowers found on the trail make this area a biodiversity hot-spot. The Fynbos flowers of the whale trail in the  De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape of South Africa are undeniably spectacular. Most visitors are unaware of the importance of this World Heritage Site. For starters it has at least 12 species that occur only on the Potberg Mountain.


Biodiversity of the De Hoop Nature Reserve

Fynbos flowers

In excess of 1100 plant species and Fynbos flowers have been recorded in  the De Hoop Reserve. At least 38 of these are endemic to the area, roughly 60 nationally rare and threatened plant species have been recorded in the reserve, including three species which are strictly endemic : Leucospermum fulgens (Vulnerable) ,Cliffortia burgersii (Rare) and Protea aurea subspecies potbergensis (Rare)

The mountain to coast trail provides a fascinating diverse landscape through seven major habitat types falling within the Bredasdorp/Agulhas and Infanta Cape Floral Region

  • Lowland Fynbos , including Limestone fynbos
  • Fynbos/thicket occurring on the coastal alkaline sands
  • Small area of renosterveld on finer, richer soils
  • Mountain fynbos on the Potberg Ranges nutrient -poor sands
  • Small forest pockets in ravines
  • The dune-field system at De Hoop is the largest remaining undeveloped, naturally shifting, dune system in the southern Cape, supporting coastal strand vegetation.
  • Productive coastal wetlands and the inter-tidal zone of eroded limestone calcrete platforms add to the diversity of the region.


Fynbos flowers

The ten largest families in the flora are, in decreasing size order:
  • Asteraceae

  • Fabaceae

  • Iridaceae

  • Ericaceae

  • Mesembryanthemaceae

  • Campanulaceae

  • Cyperaceae

  • Restionaceae

  • Proteaceae

  • Rutaceae

Fynbos flowers

Each of these habitat types supports a rich array of plant life. The  Whale Trail region of the Overberg is the center of  limestone fynbos, an endemic rich area. Soils are alkaline  and the fynbos is dominated by Protea obtusifolia and Leucodendron meridianum. Endemic Erica’s include species of Rutaceae such as Diosma guthriei, Diosma haelkraalensis and Euchaetes longibracteata and E. meridionalis, each with their own unique scent. Erica is the largest genus in the fynbos with 426 species in the south western Cape, 106 species recorded in the southern Overberg. For more information on the Rutaceae found at De Hoop go to http://angio.bergianska.se/Bilder/rosids/Sapindales/Rutaceae/Euchaetis/

Characteristic  limestone geophytes that can be found on the whale trail are Freesia elimensis, Lachenalia muirii and Watsonia fergusoniae.

Limestone soil begins in Hermanus and extends to Bredasdorp and Cape Agulhas and then from there  to Cape Infanta in the De Hoop Reserve forming two triangles






















Whale Trail Flowers

The ten largest genera are:
  • Erica

  • Aspalathus

  • Crassula

  • Senecio

  • Muraltia

  • Phylica

  • Gladiolus

  • Thesium

  • Pelargonium

  • Cliffortia

It's a Steal

Due to its immense popularity, a booking on the De Hoop Whale Trail is very difficult to secure. Bookings are made 1 year in advance through Cape Nature. The trail is professionally guided by FGASA qualified marine, field and Cape tourism guides with the experience of over 15 Whale Trails.​ Our Whale Trail Price is R 10 950.00 which includes 3 meals, 1 X  cold beverage at the end of each day and one glass of wine. At R2190 per person per day - including accommodation, fully catered and guided, its a steal.

General information regarding the trail

  • De Hoop Nature Reserve is 230 km from Cape Town International airport.(Transfer to & from Potberg for your own cost, can be arranged) Please ensure that your flight arrives in the morning and get to Potberg at around 14h00.
  • The route stretches over 58km from Potberg to Koppie Alleen and includes 5 overnight stops.
  • Trail limit is 12 people per trip (10 guests) and is termed “slack-packing”, a term used when one has the convenience of a portage facility. Hikers need only to carry a small day-pack with water, camera, rain jacket, sun screen etc.
  • The trail is exclusive in that you will not meet other hikers on the trail.
  • The trail will be fully catered for and special dietary requirements met as far as possible.
  • Requirements: sleeping bag, day pack, hiking boots & clothing.

(Hiring of equipment can be arranged)

  • Accommodation on the trail is in a series of cottages with mostly 3 bedrooms with 4 bunk beds each.
  • A 60 liter container is issued to each person for personal belongings and this is transported to the next overnight stop.


  • That all hikers have adequate medical cover to facilitate any potential medical emergency, and relevant evacuation that may arise or be required while on a Whale Trail guided and provided for by Africansunroad. This assumption also applies to individual family members of family groups.

Includes the following:

  • Professionally Guided (FGASA Field Guides and Marine, Cape Tour & Wine Guide)
  • First Aid & back-up assistance


  • Any medical costs relating to a medical emergency, and relevant evacuation that may arise while on a Whale Trail.
  • Any additional accommodation either before or after the trail, or as advertised by Africansunroad.
  • Accommodation and meals should a hikers leave, or be removed from the trail for any reason including medical.
  • Drinks at restaurants.
  • Unscheduled taxi transfers and other transportation to or from the De Hoop Reserve.
  • Loss or damage to Africansunroad vehicles parked at Potberg, before, during or after the hike.
  • Cost of removal or evacuation of persons on the Whale Trail Hike guided by Africansunroad.
  • Loss or damage to equipment used on the trail.

Acceptance of General Information, assumptions and exclusions:

  • My final payment to participate in the Africansunroad Whale Trail indicates my acknowledgment of, and acceptance of the general information, assumptions and exclusions.