Holidays to Namaqualand, South Africa
Stepping into the fields of Namaqualand is a sight like no other. If you're visiting the region in flower season - between early August and the end of September - you'll see thousands of flowers bloom in a fabulous symphony of colour. You wouldn’t believe, as you walk through the undulating hills, that just a few months back, this was an arid desert. This corner of South Africa is famous for its flora, with more than 3,000 plant species erupting in multi-hued waves. Namaqualand boasts over 1,000 plant species that you won't find anywhere else in the world and the Namaqualand daisy is one of these, a gorgeous flower that hundreds of people seek out every year.
This vast expanse is bordered by Namibia and the Orange River to the north which carves out the landscape in a series of dramatic gorges and hills. To the west, the rugged coast meets the sea with majestic granite outcrops and rare rock formations, including the famed Orbicule Diorite. In between, you’ll experience everything from darting butterflies to unique quiver trees.
Of course, it is the flowers that are the star of the show in Namaqualand. Begin an adventure taking you through a menagerie of shapes, patterns and scents to stimulate every sense. The Namaqua National Park stretches over 103,000 hectares, encompassing the beautiful Skilpad Wildflower Reserve where you can expect to see carpets of spectacular blooms. You may even spot the world’s smallest tortoise!
Continue to Springbok, the capital of the region, to visit Goegap Nature Reserve, which you can tour at your leisure in an open-topped truck. Alternatively, why not get up close and personal with the flowers with one of the many walking trails leaving from Skilpad? Either stroll through the flower carpets, see some more unusual species in the bushy areas, or take a longer hike along the Heaviside trail, which follows the Namaqua coastline for 6 kilometers. Along the way, you might spot impressive humpback whales, Heaviside dolphins and oyster catcher birds.
If you’re a cactus lover, visiting Knersvlakte is a must, as in spring this wasteland transforms into one of the richest succulent biomes on earth. In Nieuwoudtville, you will be blown away by the scale and unusual formations of the Quiver Tree Forest, an icon of South Africa; and the Richtersveldt Ais-Ais Transfrontier National Park is worth a visit. Taking a safari here, you have the chance to see leopards, lizards and much more in their natural habitat. Bird-watchers will also want to keep an eye out for local species, including the Cinnamon-breasted Warbler and Cape Long-billed Lark.
Namaqualand is also a cultural hub of rural South African communities and of the copper mining industry. Visit Springbok Copper Mine, one of the first commercial mines in South Africa, founded in 1852, or head to the Old Cemetery, where mining pioneers were laid to rest. Some locals claim the burial site is haunted!
Alexander Bay, on the other hand, is famous for its diamond mines. This is the largest town in Namaqualand, full of quirky coffee shops, art galleries and craft markets. For a taste of the local fishing cultures, head to Port Nolloth, where the wildflowers continue to cover the coast. Here, you can also taste delicious line-caught seafood – sampling the crayfish is a must.
Namaqualand Trip Ideas
Here are some trip ideas that include Namaqualand. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 01483 319 333