Compiled by the Succulent Karoo Knowledge Centre, Kamieskroon (David 079 184 8717)
Most of the flowers in Namaqualand are coming to their end, apart from areas around Nieuwoudtville and along the west coast in the Western Cape. Strong winds have resulted in the start of seed-setting and the flower displays are diminishing. We would suggest that when you see small patches of flowers, that you stop and climb out your vehicle, thus way you will see a greater variety in flowers. There are still a few patches of flowers along the coast, between Groen River and Spoeg River. Some flower displays will still found in the West Coast National Park, as well as the coastal sections of Namaqua National Park.
It is strongly suggested that before you travel, that you contact the particular persons in this report associated with the town you wish to visit. They will give you the most up to date information. One day of hot winds can cause a whole area to set seed and the flowers will disappear.
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 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).
· 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), as well as your bobbejaantjies (Babiana thunbergii). There are also smaller flowers starting to come out, resulting in a large diversity. 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 starting to go down a bit, and there is a strong south-east wind blowing over the park. So it is a must for any flower enthusiast. Person to contact: Carmen 022 772 2144.
· Postberg still has good 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 ACVV Tea garden in Ramskop Nature Garden is open till 30 September 2010.
NAMAQUALAND & SURROUNDINGS FLOWER ROUTE
1. The flowers in and around Clanwilliam are starting to reach their end, but the circular driving routes from Clanwilliam to Klawer still offer some flower viewing. The only plants that are flowering are the proteas and the fynbos. Person to contact: (Susan 027 482 2024). The Ramskop Nature Garden in Clanwilliam is worth visiting, as the flowers are peaking at the moment, with a large variety and walking paths between the flowers make it worth while visiting. Person to contact: Joannie 027 482 8018
2. Between Vredendal and Lutzville there are orange (Dimorphotheca sinuata), and white Namaqualand daisies (Dimorphotheca pluvialis), purple and yellow vygies, Gazania species, and perdeblomme (Didelta carnosa).
3. The same as between Lutzville and Strandfontein and Vredendal. There are also some vygies, hongerblomme (Senecio arenarius) and botterblom (Gazania leiopoda) between Vredendal, Strandfontein and Doringbaai. However most of these flowers are ending, and the flowers at Strandfontein and Doringbaai are also struggling with the heat and lack of rain. Person to contact: (Meagan 027 201 3376).
4. Between Nieuwoudtville and Matjiesfontein there are beautiful Namaqualand daisies, cup-and-saucers (Androcymbium or Colchicum sp.), katstert (Bulbinella divaginata), syblom, and the endemic blue pride (Geissorhiza spledidissima) flowers, which are only found in Nieuwoudtville. 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. Between Nieuwoudtville and Loeriesfontein, 4km outside Nieuwoudtville, there is a turn off to your left, which will take you to Grasberg trekroete, which has beautiful flower displays. Matjiesfontein, if you drive out the church grounds in Nieuwoudtville, left at the fourway stop. Keep going with that road for 14km, the flowers are on your right hand side. Biekos, out the church gates, right at the four ways. Take the Loeriesfontein road. Turn left at the Grasberg sign and look out for the Biekos sign. Papkuilsfontein, out the church gates, left at the fourway, the flowers are 23km outside town on your righthand side. Groenrivier, out the church gates, over the fourway, left at the 2nd crossing. Keep going with that road. Botanical gardens, out the church gates, left at the fourway, keep going with that road and turn left at the sign and keep going ‘till you get to the wooden house. Person to contact: (Belinda 027 218 1336).
5. Between Garies and Groenrivier there are 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.
6. West of Garies between Sarrisam and Soutfontein, you will find some patches of 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).
7. The flowers in the coastal sections of the Namaqua National Park have gone down quite a bit, but the flowers still look quite beautiful, with various vygies and perdeblomme (Didelta carnosa). The park section between the Groen and Spoeg Rivers can only be travelled with a 4×4 vehicle, and is still looking quite beautiful. 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).
8. At Hondeklip Bay there are some flowers south of the Aristea shipwreck and when driving via Wallekraal to Hondeklip Bay, on the Soebatsfontein turn off, the scenery is breathtaking. Except for the vygies, most of the flowers have reached their end. Collect a map of Hondeklip Bay and get directions from Honnehok Chalets 027 692 3041.
9. Between Garies and Leliefontein at Karas one of the Namaqualand daisies (Osteospermum pinnatum) have come to their end but there are still a variety of Bulbinella, 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).
10. There are also patches of flowers between Kleinzee and Koingnaas that mainly consists of perdeblom (Didelta carnosa) and volstruisvygie (Jordaaniella spongiosa). The volstruisvygies (Jordaaniella spongiosa) are in full bloom along the coast between Koingnaas and Klienzee, giving a variety of colour. The dirt road between Kleinzee and Komaggas is in a good condition. Person to contact: (Sandy 082 454 2020).
11. When driving from Kamieskroon into the Kamiesberg, on the Leliefontein road at the first house on your left, take Droëdap/Springbok turn off and about 3 - 4 km further there are patches of varkiesknol (Conicosia elongata), that still look quite beautiful. There some are orange flowers in the distance. Person to contact: Succulent Karoo Knowledge Centre 079 184 8717.
12. At Namaqua National Park the dominant flowers are the orange Namaqualand daisies (Ursinia cakelifolia), pietsnot (Grielum humifusum), Lapeirousia (Lapeirousia silenoides), dubbel gousblom (Arctotis undulata), varkiesknol (Conicosia elongata) and gansogies (Cotula barbata) and (Cotula coronopifolia). These flowers are starting to finish. You will still see some flowers if you climb out of your vehicle, and walk on the walking trails. When in the park you can keep an eye out for a number of birds, including the black eagle, jackal buzzard, rock kestrel, northern black korhaan and the two booted eagles nesting in the blue gum tree near the park reception. Person to contact: (Namaqua National Park 027 672 1948 and the Succulent Karoo Knowledge Centre 079 184 8717).
13. There are flowers on Wildeperdehoek Pass. Person to contact: Succulent Karoo Knowledge Centre 079 184 8717.
14. Nababeep has afternoon orange daisies (Ursinia cakelifolia). Person to contact: (Roelf 027 712 1321).