Imagine a spectacle so great: Year on year, the brown desert landscape of Namaqualand morphs into something else. In spots usually dominated by arid vegetation, thousands of daisies and flowers in all colours pop up. It forms one of the most beautiful floral displays in the world. The Namaqualand flower season is one of the best reasons to visit the area this time of the year.
This phenomenon only lasts for a short while every year. Times may differ, and season lengths may vary for the Namaqualand flowers. It generally starts from the end of the South African winter season into spring (August and September). But as quickly as the Namaqualand flowers arrive, they can also disappear. Many of these flowers then set seed, only for the process to repeat again the following year.
This spectacle attracts thousands of tourists every year, keen to experience the Namaqualand flower season. They come from all over to witness this burst of colour. While the phenomenon is spectacular and worth a visit at least once in a lifetime, no year during the Namaqualand flower season will ever be the same.
According to Namaqua National Park’s Reginald Christiaan, last year’s showcase was pretty spectacular. However, this year is also worth the time, though Christiaan warns that the season might be shorter. “Last year we had good rains and good follow-up drizzle. This year we also had good rains, but constant windy conditions. Flowers can’t handle windy conditions, so it will be a shorter flower season.”
What do the locals say?
Even the locals enjoy the spectacle Namaqualand offers, encouraging visitors to come and see the area during the Namaqualand flower season. Malinda Gardiner has been a resident of Kamieskroon in Namaqualand for the last six years. She still gets excited about the Namaqualand flowers. “Namaqualand is beautiful throughout the year, but flower time is special. We need to see all the exuberant colours after a long, pale summer. It is not only the lush flowers but also the green veld. that makes it so special.”
Gardiner says that they drive to different spots to go and see the flowers and walk in the veld. “Sometimes, we will drive to nearby places to view flowers over lunchtime.” Gardiner still spots new flowers not seen in previous seasons.
Get the most from the flower season
There are a couple of guidelines to get the most out of your experience seeing the Namaqualand flowers. You will want to go home with brilliant photos during the Namaqualand flower season. “The flowers are at their best in sunny conditions with no or very little wind,” says Christiaan. “The best time to view flowers is in the mornings, between 10:00-11:00. Then at 16:00.” The flowers will stay closed in overcast and rainy weather. When viewing flowers, make sure the sun is behind you as the flowers will follow the sun. When the flowers start dying down, you will continue finding more towards the coast. The sea provides extra moisture, allowing the Namaqualand flowers to thrive a little longer.
How can I find out what is flowering?
Make sure you visit the Skilpad section of the Namaqua National Park near Kamieskroon to experience the Namaqualand flowers. “The staff of Namaqua National Park is well informed about which plants are in flowering. They can make good recommendations on areas where flowers are,” says Christiaan.
Some route options
Christiaan advises planning your route before setting off on your journey to view the Namaqualand flowers. “Most of the towns have tourism offices. Contact them to get information about the flowers in the area.” Gardiner suggests a few options:
- On the Soebatsfontein road, there is a turnoff from the N7 just south of Kamieskroon.
- Kamieskroon itself
- Skilpad in the Namaqua National Park
- The route from Kamieskroon to Leliefontein and down with Studerpass to Garies.
Where else to enjoy spring flowers
You can also find flowers along the West Coast of South Africa. Head to Postberg at the West Coast National Park. In addition, the Cape region should also have colourful bursts along the landscape.
Have you ever visited the region during the Namaqualand flower season? Share your flower experiences with us in the comments!
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