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FLOWERS

One of South Africa’s most colourful natural displays happens when winter rains stimulate the blooming of millions of bright red, yellow, purple and orange flowers across the Namaqualand region. The wild flowers, there are hundreds of species, usually bloom sometime between early August and late September but their density depends on where, and how much, rain falls.

Most people planning to view the flowers travel to Namaqualand by road from Cape Town, or fly to the town of Springbok in the Northern Cape.

Tourist bureaus in the small towns along the way, Cape Town to Springbok is about 560 kilometres, are happy to keep tourists updated as to the best areas for flowers.

Some bureaus have websites but most staff are happy to respond to telephone queries.

There are many B&Bs and other accommodation throughout the area and self drive trips are easily planned and undertaken although many visitors prefer organized tours.

During years with good rainfall decent displays of flowers can be seen as far south as the West Coast National Park about 50 kilometres north of Cape Town but usually the density of the flowers increases to the north.

Often large areas of flowers can be seen from the main road heading north through the towns of Klawer, Garies and Springbok itself.

The Goegap Nature Reserve, which is just outside Springbok, and the Namaqua National Park about 60 km to the south west are well known flower “hotspots”.

Both areas have a variety of small game and excellent birdlife.

When the flowers are in bloom they also attract a large number of insects, including butterflies, which in turn attract many birds and small animals.

Guided tours are available at both reserves but should be booked in advance.

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