Namaqualand and Tankwa Karoo: A cloudy day

A cloudy day in Namaqualand is a bad one for going to see the flowers. No sun means that the flowers do not open properly, and you don’t see the carpets of colours that you do on a sunny day. But there are some advantages to a cloudy day. The light is less intense and can be interesting for a photographer – the clouds adding atmosphere to the landscape. Without the masses of flowers to “distract” you, you also start to note the other interesting features in the landscape.

For a map of the area see: The Namaqualand Information Map


A guest post by Karl-Heinz for Notes from Africa

The previous post in this series is The Namaqualand National Park.

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

Wednesday, 29 August. Bad weather moved in and the sky was dark with clouds, so we didn’t expect to see many flowers. To the eastern side of Kamieskroon is the Kamiespass and we decided to travel the mountain route via Leliesfontein to Garries. Over the mountain the weather started to clear and we saw some blue sky. Hopeful we travelled on towards Garries.

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

Some flowers remaining closed under the cloudy skies. ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

We arrived at the “Toeristestal” (Tourist Information Centre) in Garries at around teatime and had some tea. Sonja was again explaining to the tourists the best routes for the day, given the overcast sky. She recommended the route we just had travelled and we could help with some info regarding the flowers we saw en route.

The sky was clearing towards the west and we decide to travel the route recommended by Sonja towards the coast via “Soutfontein” and “Sarrisam”. What an exciting route with some farm gates to be opened and closed on the way.

We left the main road at “Sarrisam” and turned off towards the sea on a two-wheel sand track and entered the coastal section of the Namaqualand National Park. When we reach the coastline we travelled south towards the “Groenrivier” mouth. This track takes you all along the coastline from bay to bay. At some of the bays there are informal camp sites with shelters against the south wind and a chemical loo. The last ± 15 – 20 kms to the river mouth is thick sand and one needs a 4×4 to travel this section of the park. We were blessed with some sun breaking through the clouds and lighting up the amazing sight of different flowers.

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

Entering the Coastal Section of the Namaqualand National Park. ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Sonette Niemand

©Sonette Niemand

The English translation of “Skuinsklip” is “slanting rock”. ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

Wild flowers grow right up to the coast. ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

At the “Groenrivier” mouth we left the park and paid our day visitors fee of R 22 per person. From here we travelled east again towards Garries and on to Kamieskroon for our last night with the van Wyk’s. We had a nice “braai” (barbecue) that evening and warmed ourselves with some “Muskadel” (a sweet wine) from Robertson.

The Namaqualand and Tankwa Karoo series includes:

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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


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 and (my photoblog)


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13 Comments on “Namaqualand and Tankwa Karoo: A cloudy day”

  1. November 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    My god I these are absolutely brilliant photos. I am speechless at the beauty of the carpets of flowers (eg #2) and some of the close ups. Do these flowers bloom all year? You went in August which I think is winter, or is it spring over there?

    • November 14, 2012 at 6:36 am #

      Rosie, some of the plants do flower at other times of the year, but this mass display of colour is only at the beginning of Spring here which is late August/September.

  2. Eha
    November 14, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    I feel I am at Uni again! Not that I mind!! Similar yet different from Australia! The landscape is only too similar, even tho’ some of the plants are, at first glance, somewhat ‘strange’ – homework, m’dea!!!

    • November 14, 2012 at 6:39 am #

      Ha ha! Yes, you’ll notice I haven’t labelled any of the flower photos. What did you study at Uni?

      • Eha
        November 15, 2012 at 1:55 am #

        Truth is stranger than fiction 🙂 ! Six years of medicine at the proper time, went into family business instead; half an economics degree + half an arts one somewhat later . . . and now, when most people are ‘taking it easy’ am into everything from natural therapies [medicine] to Buddhism to meterology! Can’t leave things alone, can I 😀 !

      • November 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

        I think it’s good to keep developing new interests – keeps one’s mind active and young!

  3. November 16, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    I love the carpets of flowers with vibrant colors. I can only imagine how amazing it would look on a sunny day!

  4. Madoqua
    November 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I only know the succulent which is a type of vygie or mesembryanthemum. Not much help 😦
    The photos are just lovely though. This destination is a definite on my “bucket list”!

  5. November 27, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Cloudy or not, it is still a beautiful scene at that time of year.

    • November 28, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      You’re right, the landscape is less drab then normal. Are you going to be visiting the area next Spring?

      • November 28, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

        I’d love to say “YES!!” but who knows!? We can’t plan more than a couple of weeks ahead of ourselves, but if the opportunity arises closer to the time, I’m sure we’ll jump at the option. I’ve been to the West Coast National Park in spring, and it was absolutely amazing. I’ve also been up to the Richtersveld, but not during the spring flowering season. Both trips were years ago now, and my photographs do not do the settings enough justice. I will have to go back… 😉

      • November 29, 2012 at 8:46 am #

        The Richtersveld looks like a really stunning place. Unfortunately, I haven’t made it there yet.

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