There’s magic at our doorstep at the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve Festival
Wednesday, 13th September 2023
At the southern entrance to Nelson Mandela Bay lies a gateway to a magical floral kingdom: the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve. And on Monday 25 September 2023, Heritage Day, the gates will open to the Friends of Van Stadens (FOVS) much anticipated, and eagerly awaited annual indigenous flower sale. Pincushions, King proteas (our national flower), Erica’s, agapanthus, fairy-bell’s, wild iris, pelargoniums, and more and more. Check out their FB page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100095702585266
But this year FOVS have upped the flower sale a notch and turned it into a festival. A festival that starts at 06:30, yep amazingly some people aim to be festive then, with the inaugural Green Flag Trail Run powered by MetroWind. Big O Sports in partnership with the municipal reserve and FOVS kick off the day with a choice of two routes: 5km for the less festive and 15km for the out-of-their-minds festive folk. For trail runners, being the first to forge the gorge will be a badge of protea honour. See Big O Sports sign up at https://www.bigosports.co.za/event/green-flag-trail-run/?fbclid=IwAR3Vas1B7046UB82cb-P-mrSg4xYTEUFMAaETkhMuFnGZHBgkeJMWMKW9Qw
And the term, “Green Flag”, should give you pause and reach for your hiking boots, because the Wildflower Festival is also the unveiling of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s eleven (say it slowly, E…LE…VEN, that’s massive) certified Green Flag trails. We all know about our three Blue Flag beaches, Kings, Humewood, and Hobie beach, but here’s something new. The Van Stadens walk-on-the-wild-side is just one of eleven (did I mention it before, eleven né?) new such trails through our metro’s reserves that meet the international Green Flag standard. A municipal tourism initiative, the trails will take you along paths less trod in our metro and to places few go. If being outdoors, surrounded by the beauty of the natural world is your kind of thing, the Green Flag trails mark the quality spot to go. And here’s the online link to show the way: https://www.nmbt.co.za/search/1/things_to_see_and_do/adventure_sports/green_flag_trails (the launch will unveil the NMBM’s Green Flag site)
And if your trail-running shoes or hiking boots don’t see the light of day because little feet need caring for, pack the family in the car and come join the fun. There are kid-friendly cycling tracks, easy walks amongst the fynbos fairy kingdom, and plenty happening at the festival hub. Several entertainers throughout the day that moms and dads can bop to, food trucks to keep the rumbling tummies content and parents out of the kitchen, a Xhosa-hut with traditional culture displays, and a double-decker open-topped bus to do the grand tour of the King and his pincushions. There’s even a bunch of Segway’s to take for a spin, yep, those two-wheeled stand-up thingamajigs that will get the wind breezing through your hair.
But seriously, the Van Stadens Flower Reserve is one of the metro’s crown jewels, and if you’ve ever sped past and wondered… the 25th of September can change that. Take your birding book, your wildflower guide, a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and come spend the day getting lost in a magical world. There will be something there for everyone at the festival. Funds generated go to conserving the reserve and making sure your kids can take their kids on a magical journey one day. See here for more details and a map to chart your course https://www.nmbt.co.za/listing/van_stadens_wild_flower_reserve.html