Kimberley - The Namaqua District is set to burst into bloom as the annual flower season approaches.
The first sightings of the upcoming floral splendour have already been reported. Keen botanists and flower followers have been advised to start planning their itineraries to see the spring spectacular in all its blooming glory.
Due to the rainy season starting slightly later than usual, the start of the season has been delayed, but the good rainfall in June and July might see the season extending into late October.
According to Bernard van Lente, park manager of the Namaqua National Park, the world-renowned orange daisies (Ursinia) and surings (Oxalis) and Pietsnot (Grielum homifusum) are already making a splendid showing in the Skilpad region of the park, while brightly coloured patches can also be found near Springbok.
“The coastal region is expected to start blooming later and visitors should note that this area is only accessible to 4x4 vehicles. Skilpad is accessible with a normal sedan vehicle, but a high ground clearance vehicle is needed for the remainder of the park.
“The road to Skilpad from Kamieskroon is drivable, but bumpy from recent rain damage,” Van Lente added.
Flower experts recommend that the blossom brigades plan their journeys according to the direction of the sun. Driving with the sun from behind in a westward direction in the morning and in an easterly direction after midday allows for the best flower viewing. Make the best of sunny days as the flowers are fully open for approximately five hours between 11am and 4pm.
Dianna Martin, of the Northern Cape Tourism Authority, advised visitors to ensure that they book their accommodation and plan their itineraries early.
“The Namaqua flowers are a natural phenomenon that is considered to be one of the world’s botanical wonders and definitely not an experience to be missed. Visitors should make the time to explore the nature’s magic on foot and at leisure.
“The magnificence of the sea of colour stretching over the horizon can literally take your breath away. From Springbok in the north of the Province to Kamieskroon in the heart of the Namaqua, along the Hantam area to the bulb capital of Nieuwoudtville on the edge of the escarpment, each flower region offers its own unique appeal.
“All combined with the warm hospitality and authentic cuisine of each area,” Martin said.
Most flower enthusiasts’ dream is to experience Namaqua’s spring display. This unspoiled expanse of open spaces is regarded as one of the world’s botanical wonders.
The first flowers have appeared along the drier coastal strip and in the north of the region and the rest of the region promises great flowering displays until early October.
Labelled by visitors as “the greatest flower show on earth”, the Namaqua offers blazing Persian carpets of colourful daisies and vegetation rich in bulbs and perennial shrubs.
Many traverse the region and a large variation of landscapes and colour combinations can be found within short distances. Some of the “must-see” areas include the Goegap Nature Reserve (Springbok), the Namaqualand National Park (Kamieskroon) and the “bulb capital” Niewoudtville.
The best way to discover the small jewels sheltering between the taller plants is on foot and it offers keen photographers amazingly rewarding experiences.
The latest issue of the flower map will be available soon or contact the local tourism offices or national parks for daily flower updates and blooming hotspots. The flower hotline on 079 294 7260 can also be used for sighting tips.
If You Go...
Tankwa National Park: 027 341 1927
Hantam Area: 027 341 2203
Namaqua National Park:
027 672 1948
Namakwa Tourism Office:
027 712 8036
Suggested Flower Route Itineraries in the Northern Cape.
Garies – Hondeklipbaai (R62) – towards Soebatsfontein take Kamieskroon turnoff – at Kamieskroon pass hotel to Namaqua National Park.
From Kamieskroon take the turn off to Leliesfontein – Kamiesberg Pass – towards Gamoep take Nourivier turn off – Garies via Karas.