Suddenly we were back in England. The grey skies threatening rain. Driving winds and rolling moorland dotted with flocks of sheep. Yet, we were in the Western Cape. We were unprepared for the scenes around Nieuwoudtville and our camping spot for two nights on Papkuilsfontein Farm.
The atmosphere setting up our camp in the gathering gloom of twilight surrounded by acres of nothing but grouse like shrubs was fantastic. It wasn’t like our previous nights on the trip had been in the middle of Times Square, but here was a feeling of true seclusion. There was just one other couple at the camp site, but they left the next morning, so night two was just us and our small circle of light from our camp fire. This was the epitome of what we were looking for.
The flowers were different up on the plateau, much more of the yellow bulbs protruding up on stalks. Around the campsite were spotty patches, but elsewhere on the farm grounds were whole fields of them. We were told this area is known as ”the Bulb Capital of the World” because it has the highest speciation of indigenous bulbous flowers on Earth, and that certainly didn’t disappoint. We wandered past the ruins of an old farmstead, built when the land was shared amongst three families, and marvelled at the beauty of so many yellow flowers reaching into the air.
Papkuilsfontein is a working farm, but it is also has a restaurant and guest cottages, as well as the camp site. This is a family affair, with the current owners being one of the three original families. Now in their sixth generation the husband still runs the farm, whilst his wife runs the guest side of things. Her mother is the chef! She came to visit six years ago and hasn’t left! The food is fantastic and we were lucky to be able to take ours to go and sit by the camp fire each night and enjoy truly wonderful offerings. We can’t recommend it highly enough and they do lunches, for those not interested in battling the moorland roads at nighttime.
The name comes from the Afrikaans names for bulrush and spring, so it is the spring covered by bulrush. A meandering stream flows through the property, before plummeting 60 or 70 meters off the edge of the plateau. It had little rain in it, but the falls were lovely to see nestled within a horseshoe of cliffs. A short hike brought us along the edge of the cliff face, but we did not attempt the extreme trail down into the ravine. We instead found our way a little upstream to enjoy the peace and tranquility that comes from the sound of only flowing water on a sunny afternoon.