It’s almost time for the Northern Cape’s dry landscapes to be transformed into a magical wonderland of cheerful wildflowers.
For most of the year, the Northern Cape is characterised by its desert-like vistas and red sand dunes. However, once a year, in late winter and early spring, parts of the province erupt in a blaze of colour in a spectacular delight for sore eyes.
There’s still time to start planning your trip if you don’t want to miss out on this annual floral display. Your trip can include various stops along the magnificent coastline of the Namaqua National Park. If you’re travelling inland, Nieuwoudtville and the Goegap Nature Reserve just outside Springbok are also great places for seeing flowers.
Namaqua flower camps
The Namaqua National Park is hosting two Namaqua flower camps from 16 August to 8 September 2019, where travellers to the Province of Extremes can experience Mother Nature’s incredible floral spectacle in one of the best flower-viewing destinations in the world.
Both camps comprise 15 en-suite luxurious tented bedrooms with comfortable beds, electric blankets, various food options, a cash bar and communal lounge area. Prices start from R2 475 per person sharing per tent and R3 600 for single tents; kids over 16 years pay in full.
Hantam National Botanical Garden
Hantam National Botanical Garden is one of 12 gardens under the custodianship of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). Located just outside Nieuwoudtville in the Northern Cape, Hantam is a 6 000ha conservation area with a range of flower species, habitats and soil types.
Visitors can meander through this garden during the annual spring flower display on their own for a personalised, tranquil experience, or opt for a fully guided tour that teaches you about pollinators and plants, coupled with interesting research being undertaken in the botanical garden.
Here, it’s not just about the flowers – expect to encounter various small mammals, birds, reptiles and insects, some of which are endemic to the Namaqualand region.
Tours start at 2pm daily, weather permitting, and cost R150 per person. To make a booking, phone Colleen Rust at +27 (0)27 218 1200.
Hester Malan Flower Garden
If you can’t make it to any of the above-mentioned tourist attractions to see the wildflowers this year, then a visit to the Hester Malan Flower Garden in the Goegap Nature Reserve, 10km outside Springbok, is recommended this flower season, to see it come to life in a riot of colour.
A top tip for viewing the flowers is to wake up early, grab breakfast and be sure you’re in the garden between 10.30am and 4pm when the wild blooms with their kaleidoscopic displays are at their best.
Other fun activities to incorporate into your visit to the Hester Malan Flower Garden or the Goegap Nature Reserve include 4x4 routes for those interested in self-drives. Game such as springbok, gemsbok, klipspringer and bat-eared fox can be spotted while you’re out driving, mountain biking, on a walking trail or riding one of the horses in the nature reserve.
Entrance to the park is R30 for adults and kids, and camping overnight starts at R120 per person for one or two people, with a R40 charge per additional person.
Whether you book a car and drive through the Northern Cape or choose to spend a couple of days in one of the tented camps, remember that the wildflowers only bloom once every year – and you really do not want to miss one of Mother Nature’s greatest transformations.