One of the highest towns in South Africa, Dullstroom lies at 2097m above sea level, and has a unique sub Alpine climate not found anywhere else in the country. The cool misty atmosphere, with an average daytime temperature of about 22ºC in summer, is reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands and the high average rainfall of 800mm makes this a great habitat for a number of unique and interesting plant specimens. People too, flock to this serene and beautiful place and it is a popular tourist destination with a well-established infrastructure of accommodation establishments and interesting things to do.
Over 200 species of wild flowers have been counted in and around this beautiful town, among them gladioli, wahlenbergias, osteospermums and pelargoniums. Although these are all good-looking plants in their own right, they are overshadowed by the vibrant pink lily Brunsvigia radulosa. Known colloquially as the ‘tumble weed’, this plant grows a large head of bright pink flowers measuring over 60cm across. When the flower eventually dries up, it blows away, tumbling over the countryside and scattering its seed as it goes.
Another famous floral inhabitant of the rocky outcrops around Dullstroom is the Arum lily, present in three varieties – the white Zantedeschia aethiopica, the pink Zantedeschia rehmanii, and the gorgeously golden Zantedeschia petlandii. The latter occurs only in the Belfast, Dullstroom and Lydenberg districts and was once abundant in the Tonteldoos Valley. During the 1960s, these beautiful blooms were highly prized as cut flowers and almost disappeared from the wild due to the high demand for them. Another rare beauty to be found amongst the rocks is the Streptocarpus dunii, brandishing its solitary crimson leaf, measuring up to 50 cm long.
The best time to visit Dullstroom to view the area carpeted in colourful blossoms is November to February and the Verlorenvallei wild flower reserve offers guided flower walks during this time – by appointment only.