Each spring, for a few short weeks, kaleidoscopic carpets of wild flowers transform vast swathes of arid land along South Africa’s western seaboard into a vivid explosion of colour. These “super blooms” occur in deserts and arid landscapes around the world, but few are as consistent or diverse as South Africa’s flower season.
Typically lasting for just a few weeks between late July and late September, the flowers are annuals and will die with the first hot winds of the year, their seeds then lying dormant through the baking heat of summer until next year’s rains.
Photographer Tommy Trenchard captured this natural phenomenon.
“It’s was a pretty surreal sight” said Trenchard, who stumbled across the flowers by chance on an anniversary getaway with his wife in South Africa’s Biedouw Valley.
“And the short-lived, ephemeral nature of this natural display just makes it all the more special. People tend to think of South Africa as a destination to view wild animals, but its wild flower blooms rival anything you might see on a typical safari.”
Photographs by Tommy Trenchard.