A flower spotting weekend: coast & Namaqualand

Namaqualand is the epicentre of South Africa’s spring-time wildflower displays. We approached Kamieskroon from the coast and returned along the rugged Namaqua shoreline for a flower spotting trip with a difference. By Lizette Swart

I’d heard about the Namaqualand daisies forming a carpet of colour across the horizon. Ever since moving to Cape Town I’d promised myself to go see the display when there was a good year. Unfortunately, a few years of drought followed, but after good winter rains this year I decided it was time and we planned a long weekend to Namaqualand. The moment our plans were made, the weather forecast changed, with showers promised for Saturday and Sunday.

Also read: A midweek flower break

Since we were grateful for the rain we did not complain, but as downpours are not good for flower viewing, we postponed with a week. Altyd Tuis, our accommodation venue outside Lambert’s Bay, was very accommodating, and we set off for our destination on Thursday in the late afternoon. Although it was too late in the day for nice flower sightings, we arrived at Muisbosskerm just in time for a spectacular sunset on the beach.

T4A tip: Enjoy delicious seafood at Muisbosskerm. Bookings are essential as they usually open only on weekends. Cost R330 per person for a full buffet with beautiful sea views.

Flower bonanza in Namaqualand

Friday morning dawned misty and overcast but we used the time to explore some of the villages along the coast. Then we headed inland for Nuwerus and Bitterfontein, where the Gerber and Co Farmstall showed the first promise of a substantial field of daisies.

In the early afternoon we headed for the Skilpad Section of Namaqua National Park. A sea of orange and yellow greeted us, overwhelming the senses. A few springbok practically disappeared against the carpet of orange. We only noticed them when we exited the vehicle and they moved further away from us. Much time was spent taking photographs, and the 4,5km circular route took more than two hours to complete.

In Kamieskroon, Edelweiss Self-Catering provided Northern Cape hospitality combined with German efficiency (but be prepared to chat!). Waking to a cold and rainy Saturday morning, we headed towards the coast via Grootvlei Pass and Killian’s Pass.

Also read: Kalahari via Namaqua Flowers

We travelled south via the coastal section of Namaqua National Park, where there was less rain and even a few patches of flowers bravely turning their heads to the weak sun. This coastline is remote, rugged and scenic – many pictures were taken and we arrived back in Lambert’s Bay way after dark.

T4A tip: The coastal section of Namaqua National Park can be travelled only with a 4×4. Deflate tyres to 1.2 bar as there are some deep sandy sections.

Into the Biedouw Valley

On Sunday morning we headed for the Biedouw Valley, where we’d heard the flowers are particularly abundant this year, and we were not disappointed. While orange was the dominant colour in Namaqualand, the Biedouw Valley shimmered with mostly yellow interspersed with orange and white patches.

The flowers are certainly breathtaking this year and well worth the trip up to Namaqualand. Plan to visit after the rains, but try to avoid overcast or rainy days when the flowers don’t open. We did this in three nights, but the driving was intense. For a more relaxed experience, plan on four nights if you are going to travel from Cape Town all the way up to Kamieskroon.

T4A tip: Aim to view the flowers between 10am and 3pm (or thereabouts) when the sun is at its strongest and the flowers open fully. In the afternoon it is better to travel from the northwest towards the south and east, when the sun is behind you and the flowers turn their heads towards you.

Left it too late to see the flowers this year? There’s no time like the present to start planning your flower excursion for spring 2021. Our Traveller’s Atlas Southern Africa is ideal for route planning and conveniently opens flat for ease of use.

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