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Namaqualand

The area in the Northern Cape Province known as Namaqualand stretches of wild coastline from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the town Pofadder in the east, the Orange River at the border with Namibia in the north and the small village Garies in the south. It lies 500 km above Cape Town and is known for its great variety of succulents and huge amounts of wild flowers in the spring which transform this otherwise dry and barren area into a colourful land. In particular, the Namaqua daisies which provide orange, white and yellow flowers seas which are well known at home and abroad.

Namaqualand is a (semi-) desert and receives between 50 mm and 200 mm of rain per year. In the area there are 4000 different flowers blooming in spring, many of which can only be found in Namaqualand. There are 1000 different species of succulents and they certainly constitute a third of the fauna in the area. The most famous is the succulent Mesembryanthemum (afternoon vygie or flower). When the flowers bloom, they do so precisely depending on the nature and in particular the rainfall. Overall it is early spring (August - September) the beginning of the flowering period which lasts only two months.

The quiver tree is one of the few large plants in the area and gets its name from the indigenous Khoi tribe that hollowed trunks and branches used as sleeves for their arrows. This Khoi tribe bore the name Nama, which the region takes its name from. The Nama Bushmen moved to Namibia when the whites came and started to inhabit Namaqua including mining (copper and diamonds). In the area there are a number of parks and nature reserves such as the Namaqua National Park (141 000 hectares previously Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve), with two beautiful viewpoints over the flower fields. Except for a drive by car, you can walk or drive a 4x4 route through the park. At the mouth of the Green River it is full of flamingos and in the Spoeg estuary there are caves where archaeological finds have been made. Other famous parks are the Richtersveld National Park and Goegap Nature Reserve where you can find hiking and biking trails.

National parks and reserves not only protect the flora but also the fauna living in the area which include Klipspringer, ibex, wild cat, nature wolf, many species of birds, baboons and the rare bat-orenvos. Follow the road between the small historic villages of Gariep, Kamieskroon, Port Nolloth, Nieuwoudtville and the larger Springbok (main town in the area), and enjoy the large amounts of fairy-tale flower fields in spring.