(We are getting a lot of queries what the flowers look like, I’m sending some pics to make explaining to visitors easier. The pics were taken the last 7 days)
The Skilpad section of Namaqua National Park has had 18mm of rain during August 2010. This is well below what would be required for flower ‘carpets’. There is however a surprising variety, and we would recommend visitors walk the trails or get out of their cars.
Flowers you can see in some numbers include the Varkiesknol (Conicosia elongata); Orange daisies (Ursinia sp); Meidestert (Lapeirousia silenoides); Gazania sp; and gansogies (Cotula sp).
The coastal section is starting to go down a bit, but is definitely still worthwhile for visitors in 4×4’s. The variety is quite impressive.
I went for a walkabout near Wallekraal and Soebatsfontein two days ago and was rather disappointed that there were absolutely no flowers to be seen at all.
As a result, I took some visitors on a 4×4 trip down to Spoeg River yesterday to view the flowers there. I’m happy to report that whilst the flowers in other areas may be rather sparse, there are still quite a lot of flowers to be seen along the coast just south of the Spoeg River mouth. Unfortunately at the rate at which the warm easterly berg winds are blowing, I doubt whether these flowers will last for another two weeks. Please take note, that this area is ONLY accessible using a 4×4 vehicle. You are most welcome to contact me for more info on 4×4 trips, as well as the “one day field photography workshops” that I present.
Namaqualand & Surroundings Flower Route Report 18 August 2010
Compiled by the Succulent Karoo Knowledge Centre, Kamieskroon (David and Sonette 079 184 8717)
Do not delay your visit! The flowers in Namaqualand are peaking and will soon come to an end. No rain in the last weeks and strong winds have resulted in the start of seed-setting and the flower displays are diminishing. There are still a few patches of flowers along the coast, and the largest displays of flowers are found in the Namaqua National Park. The two walking trails in the Park will still provide some excitement.
The same map at the end of this report is available at most of the information centres in Namaqualand at R10/map. The size of this map is 4 times A4 for easy reading and folded to A4 size for easy handling.
· The West Coast has just joined our network. The present report is mostly about Namaqualand and surroundings and the new addition of flowers along the West Coast is not necessarily complete. Also, the accompanying map does not have the West Coast areas marked. We will provide information as they send it and next year the map will be extended to include these areas.
· More accurate information about a specific patch of flowers can be obtained from the contact person.
· Each species of the dominant daisy family has its own environmental trigger that makes it open during the day, be it temperature or light intensity. Most flowers only start opening at about 10:30 am and remain open until about 4:00 pm. Should you be traveling before or after these times, you might not see many flowers. If it rains or is overcast or it is very cold, the flowers also do not open up to the usual display of colour.
Please help us to make other visitors’ journeys more enjoyable and comfortable by reporting flower patches and especially road conditions to us. Contact Sonette or David at the Succulent Karoo Knowledge Centre: 079 184 8717
· Darling - Both Tienie Versveld and the Darling Groenkloof reserves are worth a visit. Oude Post - people can drive through but must stay on the road as the road can be wet alongside. Flowers to see: suring (early Oxalis), and lots of bloupypie (Gladiolus gacilis).
· Moorreesburg - Neulfontein koppie - 2.4 km from Moorreesburg, on the N7 to Cape Town, 30 minute hike to the top. There are many indigenous flowers and shrubs. Flowers to see: bloukappie (Polygala virgata), rooi Afrikaner (Gladiolus tristis), ganskos (Cenia turbinata), gifkool (Chlorophytum triflorum), magrietjies (Ursinia anthemoides). Person to Contact: Ian Coch 022 433 2461.
· There are a lot of flowers at the West Coast National Park covering the area in an array of colours, some of the flowers that can be found there are, soetgousblom (Arctotheca calendula); gousblomme; drumsticks (Zaluzianskya villosa); reënblom (Dimorphotheca pluvialis); margriet (Dimorphotheca sp.); Gazania; varkslaai (Conicosia pugioniformis); bokbaaivygie (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis); oxalis; and white Namaqualand daisies (Dimorphotheca pluvialis). The flowers do not open when there is mist over the park, but as soon as sunlight breaks through they will start to open. The flowers in the park are at their peak so it is a must for any flower enthusiast. Person to contact: Carmen 022 772 2144.
· Postberg flower viewing - open until the 30 September. One must travel through the West Coast National Park to get there, where an entrance fee will be charged at R38 for adults and R26 for children, for all SA citizens, and R72 for adults and R40 for children, for all overseas travellers. There will be free admission for SA Citizens between 13 - 17 September, including the entry fee into West Coast National Park.
· The Swartland Flower show is from 8 - 11 September. Person to Contact: Ian Coch 022 433 2461.
· Hopefield Fynbos Show - open from 28 to 31 August, 09:00 to 17:00. Contact: Fiona Kotze 022 783 0856.
o Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show will be open from the 26th August till 1st of September from 08h30 to 18h00. Entrance: R25 for adults, R20 for pensioners, R5 for children.
o Mr. Roger Diamond, will give a talk on geology, soil and water and its effect on vegetation types on Friday 27 August 2010 at 10h00 at “Die Kunshuis” R10 per person
o Audio visual about artist Paul du Toit, Friday, 27 August during the opening of the Spring Exhibition at “Die Kunshuis”
o Spring Exhibition at “Die Kunshuis” with artists; Antonia Vellisariou, Pauline Fine, Gretha Helberg and Annelie Venter.
o Heuningvlei walk/donkey cart trail, Saturday, 28 August 2010 at 09h00. Bookings can be made at the Clanwilliam Tourism Office,
tel: 027 482 2024 or firstname.lastname@example.org
o Saturday, 28 August 2010 at 14h00 is the Bokwater Safari en rock art tour, where Dr Jeanette Deacon will give a talk about the rock art.
o Emo Adams at Bushmans Cave on Saturday, 28 August 2010, book with Erik de Milander, tel: 027 482 2918.
o Khoi-meal at Olifantshuis Restaurant on Sunday, 29 August 2010, book with Jaco Slabbert, tel: 027 482 2301.
o Opera on the Dunes at Grootvlei Guest Farm Sunday, 29 August 2010 at 11h30. Tickets for the performance at R75.00 each. For more information contact Grootvlei Guest Farm on 027 432 2716.
o Peter Atterbury Photo Exhibition from 16 August to 30 September at Yellow Aloe Nursery.
o Market behind the Tourism Office for the duration of the Wild Flower Show, with a variety of stalls selling, food, arts & crafts as well as local products like jams, home bakes, etc.
o The ACVV Tea garden in Ramskop Nature Garden is open till 30 September 2010.
NAMAQUALAND & SURROUNDINGS FLOWER ROUTE
1. Along the West Coast at Lamberts Bay there are a daisies (Dimorphothecapluvialis), varklelies (Zantedeschia aethiopica), bontviooltjies (Ornithogalum maculatum), andsurings, (Oxalis pes-caprae). There are also patches of flowers between Lamberts Bay and Graafwater. Person to contact: (Susan 027 432 1000).
2. There are patches of white Namaqualand daisies or reënblommetjies (Dimorphotheca pluvialis) north of Citrusdal. Near Clanwilliam there are small patches of vygies, and the yellow flowering bushes of the Clanwilliam daisies (Euryops speciosissimus) and rapuis (Euryops thunbergii) along the road in the hills brighten the hills. Person to contact: (Susan 027 482 2024).
3. The Ramskop Nature Garden is worth visiting, as the flowers are looking beautiful at the moment. Person to contact: Joannie 027 482 8018
4. There are no flowers between Vredendal and Vanryhnsdorp. Person to contact: (Shaun 027 219 1552).
5. Between Vredendal and Lutzville there are orange (Dimorphotheca sinuate), and white Namaqualand daisies (Dimorphotheca pluvialis), purple and yellow vygies, Gazania species, and perdeblomme (Didelta carnosa). The same as between Lutzville and Strandfontein and Vredendal en Klawer. There are also some vygies and hongerblomme (Senecio arenarius) between Vredendal, Strandfontein and Doringbaai. Person to contact: (Meagan 027 201 3376).
6. Between Nieuwoudtville and Matjiesfontein there are beautiful Namaqualand daisies, cup-and-saucers (Androcymbium or Colchicum sp.), katstert (Bulbinella divaginata) and syblom. The road is a gravel road, it is accessible with a normal vehicle, but drive carefully. Some flowers are starting to come up on the Rondekop route. Papkuilsfontein has good flower displays. Person to contact: (Belinda 027 218 1336).
7. There are patches of one of the Namaqualand daisies (Osteospermum pinnatum) in town. Around the information center there are little patches of flowers. Strong winds have caused a considerable amount of damage. Person to contact: (Gideon 027 642 7335).
8. Between Garies and Groenrivier there are more beautiful patches of flowers. Once again it is a dirt road, and for the first 40 km you must drive carefully after which the road improves slightly.
9. West of Garies between Sarrisam and Soutfontein, there are some beautiful patches of flowers; skaapbos (Tripteris oppositifolia) and perdeblomme (Didelta carnosa). It is a gravel road, but a normal vehicle will manage quite easily, as long as you don’t drive too fast. Person to contact: (Sonja 027 652 1220).
10. The coastal sections of the Namaqua National Park still have beautiful flowers displaying a variety of colour. Various vygie species are particularly prominent. Perdeblomme (Didelta carnosa) covers large areas and are very striking with their bright yellow flowers. The park section between the Groen and Spoeg Rivers can only be travelled with a 4×4 vehicle, and it is recommended that you travel from north to south for the best views of the flowers. Person to contact: (Namaqua National Park 027 672 1948).
11. Between Garies and Leliefontein at Karas there are some patches of flowers, and it is worth a drive for lovely scenery. This road is a challenge to cars and only high vehicles like 4×4 or bakkies should attempt it at a very low speed. Person to contact: (Sonja 027 652 1220).
12. At Hondeklip Bay there are some flowers south of the Aristea shipwreck and when driving via Wallekraal to Hondeklip Bay, except for the vygies, most of the flowers are coming to an end. - collect a map of Hondeklip Bay and get directions from Honnehok Chalets 027 692 3041.
13. Vygies can be foundbetween Hondeklip Bay and Koingnaas. Persons to contact: (Linette or Elize 027 692 3041)
14. There are also patches of flowers between Kleinzee and Koingnaas that mainly consists of perdeblom (Didelta carnosa) and volstruisvygie (Jordaaniella spongiosa). The dirt road between Kleinzee and Komaggas is in a good condition. Person to contact: (Sandy 082 454 2020).
15. Between Springbok and Kleinzee there are scattered skaapbos (Tripteris oppositifolia) in full bloom. However the Spektakelberg Pass and the Pass leading to Kommagas is certainly scenic wise a worthwhile journey and this section is tar. In Kommagas there are skaapbos (Tripteris oppositifolia) flowering.
16. Just north of Karkhams on the eastern side of the road there is a large display of pietsnot (Grielum humifusum). If you are traveling from the south look back when you have reached the hill north of Karkhams.
17. There are very small patches of pietsnot (Grielum humifusum) in the town of Kamieskroon itself . Person to contact: Succulent Karoo Knowledge Centre 079 184 8717.
18. There are new patches of flowers coming up in the Kamiesberg, which are mostly orange. Person to contact: Succulent Karoo Knowledge Centre 079 184 8717.
19. At Namaqua National Park the dominant flowers are the orange Namaqualand daisies (Ursiniacakelifolia), with pietsnot (Grielum humifusum), a beautiful serice Lapeirousia (Lapeirousia silenoides) and the varkiesknol (Conicosia elongata) becoming prominent. It’s beautiful in the afternoons after 12. When in the park you can keep an eye out for a number of birds, including the black eagle, jackal buzzard, rock kestrel and northern black korhaan. Person to contact: (Namaqua National Park 027 672 1948 and the Succulent Karoo Knowledge Centre 079 184 8717).
20. There are also new flowers on Wildeperdehoek Pass. Person to contact: Succulent Karoo Knowledge Centre 079 184 8717.
21. Nababeep has very small patches of orange daisies (Usinia cakelifolia). Person to contact: (Roelf 027 712 1321).