Due to the late winter rains the flower spectacular to carry on longer
WITH winter rains coming to the Northern Cape later than usual this year, visitors to the Province can expect the winter flower season to run later, towards the end of October.
This means that visitors can still experience the spectacular beauty of the Province’s signature wildflower display up close.
According to the Northern Cape Tourism Authority (NCTA), the Namaqua National Park is currently “the place to be” for those wanting to observe the explosion of colour the annual flower season brings.
“There are patches of beautiful flowers throughout the park at the moment. Although the area has not yet had sufficient rain, this is no reason to be overly concerned – this year, we expect the flower season to carry on longer,” the NCTA said.
“It is still quite cold in the mornings and some evenings, with temperatures of anything between -1 degrees Celsius to 4 degrees Celsius in the mornings. The days are sunny and this year is a lot less windy than previous years, resulting in an abundance of beautiful clear days, although it is still quite chilly during the day.”
This week, some flowers have started to bloom in the Skilpad and Groenrivier sections of the park. While they are mostly daisies, visitors will also see strips of pietsnot, vygies, sporrie and sambreeltjies.
On the N7 between Kharkams and Garies and in Kamieskroon, there are also some patches of flowers and there is a small display on a section of the Caracal Eco Route on the way to Luiperdskloof Guest Cottage.
Some of the more common Namaqua flower species currently in bloom include the Dimorphotheca pluvialis (Namaqua daisy), mass-flowering daisies found across the entire region and can almost be mistaken for snow from a distance, Arctotis fastuosa (bittergousblom), a pretty flower that can be found growing abundantly in the Tankwa National Park during springtime, Colchicum sp (cup and saucer), low-lying flowers that can be found north of the Cape Floral Region, towards Namaqua, Jordaaniella cuprea (rankvygie), a creeping succulent that blooms from July to August, Tripteris oppositifolia (skaapbos), a stunning flower that can be found all over the Namaqua region, especially in Vanrhynsdorp, and the Gazania krebsiana (gousblom), known as the pride of the flower route.
The NCTA has advised that in order to view the flowers at their best, visitors should choose the hottest time of the day, from 11am to 3pm, which is the extended flower-power hour.
“Visitors are urged to respect the floral paradise – to walk with care and not to trample plants unnecessarily. They should also not pick any buds, bulbs or specimens, and not disturb sensitive dune areas.”
As the flowers always face the sun, visitors are advised to drive towards the sun. “When viewing flowers on foot, people should stand with the sun behind them.”
Helpful hints for taking photos of flowers include photographing the flowers either in the morning or just after 3pm in the afternoon, steering clear of taking photographs on windy days, getting really close to the flower, using a reflector on the camera, changing your point of view in order to get the perfect shot and making sure your background is simple and not cluttered.
The following are suggested routes to make the most of the floral splendour:
Garies to Hondeklipbaai (R362) – towards Soebatsfontein take Kamieskroon turn-off – at Kamieskroon, pass the hotel to Namaqua National Park.
From Kamieskroon, take the turn-off to Leliefontein.
Kamiesberg Pass – towards Gamoep take Nourivier turn-off – Garies via Karas.
Springbok to Steinkopf via Nababeep (N7) – Port Nolloth (R382) – Grootmis/Kleinzee (permit required) – Spektakel Pass – Goegap Nature Reserve.