Wildflower Route – Discover the Magic of Namaqualand
The four corners, or borders, of Namaqualand are the Atlantic Ocean, the Orange River, Garies, and the remote town of Pofadder. In between these four “walls” lies an arid desert during summer, and after the winter rains, it is as if Namaqualand has covered herself with a lush blanket of breathtaking beauty. The land becomes unrecognizable as the vibrant colors sweep across the landscape and the various species of flowers fill the air with their unique fragrances. This spectacular explosion of life is a memorable experience and two or three days is advised to tour around the Wild Flower Route. The Namaqualand Wild Flower Route can be traveled at leisure and in no particular order. The Wild Flower Route will open your eyes to a new world of magical beauty and reinforce the magnitude of the transformation this area undergoes each year. Namaqualand has been the inspiration for many paintings, poems and works of art, maybe this trip will inspire you.
Alexander Bay is a high security area, due to the mining of alluvial diamonds. As access is very limited, the mine does offer tours, but bookings are essential, if you are wanting to take a peek at this area. Garies has massive boulders located just outside the town, and here you will see the names of early travelers inscribed in the rocks, even a coat of arms that British soldiers chiseled into the rocks while stationed here in 1901.
Kamieskroon is surrounded by the Kamiesberg Mountains. The hiking and bike trails through this area, gives you the opportunity to view the festival of spring flowers, up close. Also visit the Skilpad Wildflower Reserve for stunning views of the flowers. Nabadeep is a mining town, founded by the Cape Copper Company in 1860. Here you can view the modern copper mining and smelting methods or tour the mining history by visiting the Mining Museum.
Springbok also had its start as mining town, but as grown to be the administrative center of Namaqualand. This town is filled with historical sites such as the Anglo-Boer War Monuments at Monument Koppie and a synagogue turned museum, which was built in 1929. Port Nolloth is yet another town that was founded through copper mining, as the copper port was established in the 1850’s. Today the port is still in commission but is home to fishing trawlers, diamond dredging boats, line fishing and beautiful stretches of sandy beaches.
Richtersveld National Park is a 160,000 hectare desert wilderness, that features spectacular mountain ranges and a unique range of bird, mammal, and reptile species. Very few animals are able to survive in this dry land that gets life sustaining moisture from the early morning Atlantic Ocean fog. Vioolsdrift is situated 350 kilometers from the Orange River mouth, and is located on the south bank. It is also a border post between them and Noordoewer in Namibia. Although these two communities are closely related, the border posts were established due to Namibia’s independence in 1992.
The last stop on the Namaqualand Wildflower Route is Goegap Nature Reserve. Besides the breath-taking floral scenes, the reserve boasts 45 mammal species and more than 92 bird species.
Namaqualand might have the most beautiful annual flower extravaganza on display in the world, but it also has much more to offer visitors to this part of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is truly a trip worth taking.