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Namaqualand: The Floral Kingdom of Africa
Foreigners and locals return time and again to thiswonderland of colour. The miracle of a parched landscape slowly evolving through the seasons into ahuge carpet of wild flowersis breathtaking. The best time to view this unique floral display is from mid-August to October.
To do Namaqualand properly, one would take a leisurely drive through the fields of flowers, stopping off at thenature reservesand charming towns along the way. Bear in mind that accommodation in the region is oftenbooked out a year in advanceas more foreigners hear of these wildflowers, which are unparalleled anywhere.
To view all the different species of flowers in the region, getThe Botanical Society of South Africa guidestoNieuwoudtville SA Wild Flower Guide andNamaqualand SA Wild Flower Guide 1. There's also Freeman Patterson'sGarden of the GodsandFynbosby Richard Cowling.
Towns Along The Way
The locals in this area are as impressive as their colourful surroundings. They are helpful and offer advice on where the best flowers are. The reasonably pricedKamieskroon Hotel, the town B&B's and the neighbouring farms all offer splendid accommodation. Contact theNamaqualand Tourism Centrefor your pick of places to stay. Roads leading out from Kamieskroon go up into the hills to the town ofLeliefonteinwhere you will find an enchanting old mission station. It's worth travelling further afield to the rugged west coast of stormy seas and rocky outcrops atHondeklip BayandGroenriviermond.
The 50 000 hectareNamaqua National Parkis a botanical and ecological conservancy whose friendly conservationists will gladly answer questions on the flora and fauna of the area. The reserve stretches roughly from the town of Garies northwards to the towns ofSpringbokandSteinkopf. The areas most visited are around the towns of Springbok andNababeep. The Spektakel (spectacle) ridge is a must see with its profusion of flowers. The further north you travel from Kamieskroon to Springbok, the more spectacular the display of species in a good season.
The town of Nieuwoudtville is ageological treasuresituated on the Bokkeveld escarpment. Within the surrounds of just 20 kilometres the plant life changes from fynbos, to renosterveld, to karoo. It has therichest bulb (geophyte) variety in the world. Species include the famous spring daisies, the forget-me-not family, pelargonium (with its bizarre shapes), heliophila (sun lover), vygies (little figs), and the iris and rose family.
The town has its ownwild flower reserve; there is also nearby Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve, a giant plain ofwilderness rock formationandrock art. You can view a90-metre high waterfallin an ancient Gondwanaland geological fault. Visiting the nearby 'secret' forest with itskokerbome- strangely shaped trees with weird arms coming out of their trunk - makes you feel like you're inside'Lord of the Rings'territory. Theprivate farmsin the area areopen to the publicand often have the most spectacular array of flowers. There are a couple of farms that manage to combine commercial farming with the cultivation of floral wealth.
Tips on planning yourFlower Escapade
Flowers are best viewed from 11:00 to 15:00 on a sunny day
A cool box is essential for informal, off-road picnics
Don't forget comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, binoculars and insect repellent
Most of the flowers are so tiny that you won't be able to see and appreciate them from a moving vehicle. It's perfectly safe to get out the car and view close-up
Take your flower guides, so you are up-to-date with the names of flowers you are viewing.Self-drive holidaysare so popular because driving in South Africa is easy, safe and exposes you to some of the greatest attractions that you would never see on a package tour.iDrive, Southern Africa car hire, has developed a range of self-drive, travel products from our many years of travel experience in South Africa and its neighbouring countries.
Article Source: http://www.simplysearch4it.com/article/36885.html
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