SOUTH AFRICA - NAMAQUALAND
depth guide to the seasons, animals, birds and wildlife
habitats of Namaqualand in South Africa
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the north-west corner of South Africa is Namaqualand
- famous for an extraordinary springtime transformation
of the lifeless scrubland, into a veritable
explosion of colours from a multitude of small
come from all over the world to witness this
spectacle, which usually peaks anytime from
mid- August to mid-September. If you are driving
towards the sun you may not see what the fuss
is all about, but as soon as you turn your
back to the sun, the full impact of thousands
of yellow, white, orange or purple flowers,
will astound you.
flora is characterised by a phenomenal variety
of daisies, but there are also violets, pelargoniums,
mesembryanthemums, gladioli and numerous other
Aloes also puncture this landscape of the Northern
Cape and you know you are in an area of very low
rainfall when you start seeing 'Quiver Trees'
(Kokerboom - aloe dicotema), so named because
the bushmen used the fibrous branches as a quiver
for their arrows.
is home to the Nama people, who are direct descendants
of the Khoikhoi bushmen, as can be seen in their
pale skin and fine features. Their culture suffered
when the apartheid regime prohibited their strange
multi-click language from being taught in schools
and forced them to re-locate to other areas.
However, their cultural heritage and customs
are slowly returning and their language - which
is classified by UNESCO as Endangered - is being
taught again and they hope to add it to the
school curriculum in the area.
flowers carpet the route all the way down the
west coast of South Africa almost to Cape Town,
so even if you don't make it up to Namaqualand,
whose capital is the isolated town of Springbok,
there other opportunities to see the flowers.
Most of the plants of Namaqualand are indigenous
and some succulents are so rare they are found
nowhere else in the world. Antelopes such as
springbok and bontebok are at home in these
areas and can be found in some of the reserves
and you may also see tortoises and chameleons
- the masters of camouflage.
Summer: Namaqualand is hot
and dry with an average of 86°F (30°C)
during the mid-summer months of December to
Winter: in the winter the north-westerly
wind brings rain which may fall between May
and September but the coldest months are June,
July and August where temperatures can drop
below 40°F (5°C).
Days are often clear and bright but the wind
can be very chilly.
Spring: the spring flowers
emerge in force from July through to September
but there are no guarantees as to when they
will peak, although late August is a good bet.
· Walking through carpets
of spring flowers
· Flower shows all along
the West Coast
· Quiver trees
This is not a malarial area.
Follow the links below to South Africa's premier wildlife
regions and game reserves.
Reserve Index | Wildlife