The Namaqualand National Park

A guest post by Karl-Heinz for Notes from Africa

The previous post in this series is The Clanwilliam Flower Show.

What the veld in Namaqualand and the Karoo usually looks like . . . ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

. . . And then around another corner, the valley is carpeted with Spring flowers. ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

The Tuesday, 28 August was a glorious sunny day and we went off to visit the Namaqualand National Park.

As if by magic a tapestry of brilliant colours unfold enticingly along the winding roads of the Namaqua National Park. Butterflies, birds and long-tongued flies dart around among the flowers, seemingly overwhelmed by the abundance and diversity.

Every turn in the road paints an unforgettable picture: valleys filled with Namaqualand daisies and other spring flowers that pulse with sheer energy and joy. Next to some eye-catching succulents, a porcupine and a tall aloe pay witness to a baboon overturning a rock and pouncing on a scorpion. During early August and September, seemingly overnight, the dusty valleys of Namaqualand are transformed into a wonderland, carpeted with wildflowers. With its winter rainfall, Namaqualand is home to the richest bulb flora of any arid region in the world and more than a 1 000 of its estimated 3 500 plant species are found nowhere else on earth.

Escape to the land of contrasts, where the rigorous climate has created a myriad of life forms superbly adapted to their specific habitat. Fields of flowers, star studded nights, quiver trees, enormous granite outcrops and the icy Atlantic are but a few wonders that await the visitor to what is truly the Creators’ playground.

From: SANParks – Namaqua National Park

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Sonette Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Sonette Niemand

It looks like this poor tortoise got scorched in a fire. ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

We started at the “Skilpad”(tortoise) portion of the park ± 25 km’s north west of Kamieskroon. We did a 4 km hiking trail through the flowers and often found ourselves on our knees and sometimes stomach taking photos.

The Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve is renowned as one of the prime locations for the annual spring flower displays in Namakwaland from August to October.

The 1000-ha Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve lies to the west of Kamieskroon and has a somewhat higher precipitation factor than the surrounding areas due to its proximity to the coast. The mountainous Kamiesberg area east of Kamieskroon is also superb for mountain biking.

From: SA Venues: Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

We took the 4×4 route in the park and travelled west across the mountain to the little settlement of “Soebatsfontein”.

The name of this small village (“Fountain of Pleading”) comes from a spring in the middle of the village. Legend has it that a man named Hendrik Stievert pleaded for his life here, but was subsequently murdered by a group of San (Bushmen) in 1798. Soebatsfontein was also the place where local church was held since the 1870’s. There is a campsite available here (without ablution facilities) under some trees. Nearby are the spring and some old gardens. Also close to the camping site is the quartzveld – an area where quartz is found in abundance.

From: Tracks4Africa Padkos: Soebatsfontein

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

After a wonderful day, we passed the farm “Grootvlei” (dam with windmill and flowers) on our way back to Kammieskroon.

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Sonette Niemand

The Namaqualand and Tankwa Karoo series includes:

Thank you to Sonette and Karl-Heinz for sharing their trip and beautiful photographs with me!

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Categories: Guest Bloggers, Lifestyle/Travel, Nature/Environment

Author:lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)

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18 Comments on “The Namaqualand National Park”

  1. November 8, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    Really a beautiful place! 🙂

  2. November 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Oh, this is so beautiful! I have never been to Namaqualand during flower season, but have always wanted to…another thing for the bucket list!

    • November 12, 2012 at 6:56 am #

      It’s definitely worth a visit. I’ve been there (before I started getting interesting in photography), but not recently.

  3. November 8, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    I am simply amazed by these fields of flowers. My Sara would especially love the orange ones. Thanks again for this series. Hope your week is going well.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • November 12, 2012 at 6:58 am #

      What amazes me about the wild flowers is you can have those intense oranges next to mauve and other colours – and it all works!

  4. November 8, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Gorgeous photographs of a truly beautiful setting 🙂
    Seeing carpets of colour in nature is a wonderful thing to see!

  5. Eha
    November 9, 2012 at 3:59 am #

    Fantastic photography indeed: just a little reminiscent of parts of Western Australia in spring.

    • November 12, 2012 at 7:05 am #

      Thanks Eha! Yes, you’re right, the veld types between the Western Cape and Western Australia are very similar.

  6. Estie
    November 9, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Such a feast for your eyes! Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • November 12, 2012 at 7:06 am #

      It’s is beautiful isn’t it? Karl-Heinz and Sonette went there just after you were there, and got lucky!

  7. November 9, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    These are such wonderful photos of something that is just amazing. I have never seen these flowers, but this is one of the things on my “must do” list.
    So beautiful.

    • November 12, 2012 at 7:10 am #

      Thanks for your kind comments! Karl-Heinz and Sonette did take some wonderful photos. It’s definitely worth a visit.

  8. November 9, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    Such gorgeous views in the spring of your Southern Hemisphere.

    • November 12, 2012 at 7:49 am #

      Thanks Georgette! What does it look like where you live now? Do you get snow?

  9. November 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Working backwards so I can answer my question – the flowers bloom in spring. August to October is a long time.

    oh my word another brilliant display … oh my word the colors… I’m speechless…

    • November 14, 2012 at 6:38 am #

      The height of the flowering is in August/September, depending on the winter rainfalls and the temperatures.

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