Namaqualand is located north of the fertile and prospering Cape Peninsula. It is bordered in the south by a small town called Garies, the east by the arid Pofadder, in the north by the mighty Orange River and in the west, it reaches the rugged coastline of the Atlantic Ocean.
This is an arid, dry semi-desert located in south-western Africa and extends more than 600 miles along the west coast. To get to this area, you first need to drive through the Swartland (named after it’s rich black soil) which is filled with healthy wheat fields, over the Olifants River Mountains into a valley, dense of citrus farms. North of this, you will encounter the extremely dry and harsh wilderness of Namaqualand where life is just to dry for anything to grow, or so you would think!
But after a short winter’s rainy season, a miracle occurs. This dry arid strip of desert on the west coast of South Africa, is transformed into an amazing rainbow wonderland of beauty, displaying desert wildflowers. The countless wildflowers spread over the wide plains like a very colourful carpet to mark the start of spring (August-October, depending on the rains). Most of these flowers belong to the different species of daisies.
These groups of flowers have no equal anywhere else on earth. Packed into this area is more that 3000 different plant species of which 40% are endemic, found nowhere else on earth. Thousands of tourists flock to this area during this time of the year to witness the stunning celebration of spring. Within 2 months, the season changes again, bringing dry and hot sunny days with scorching winds which turns this area back into it’s desert appearance.
This area is also rich in wildlife, anything from mammals, insects and reptiles to amphibians and great bird life. You will also find the rare bat-earned fox and even see the blue head lizard.
The Northern Cape is a very harsh world. The sun is extremely warm, baking the ground so it is rock hard. There is very high unemployment and poverty, but the people that were born here, has a great love of their place of birth. You can’t help but fall in love with this amazing place.
Botanists make trips to Namaqualand the same time each year for research or just the experience. Many rare species of succulents are found here, and many wish to study them.
Namaqualand is also valuable from a mineral point in history. Simon van der Stel sank a shaft in 1685 near Springbok and discovered copper here. This shaft still stands as a national monument together with the copper smelting chimney built in 1866.
Namaqualand is beautiful, a rare paradise. Beauty that has to be seen by the naked eye. No brush or camera can capture this amazing experience…
I was born in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa and grew up in Vereeniging. The first time I left home was in 2002 to go to England on a working holiday. Met my husband halfway around the world, got married in South Africa and now have 2 beautiful children. One boy and one girl... Started writing down recipes I grew up with when I was living in England and love sharing them with others. Buy my downloadable book and keep all the recipes together! https://recipesfromsouthafrica.com/download-book-in-english/