Namaqualand reaches from the Northern Cape shoreline of the Namibian border to the northern extremes of the Western Cape coast. Most of this landscape comprises succulent Karoo vegetation, a plant species with thick, fleshy leaves that are uniquely adapted to survive arid, low rainfall conditions; and nearly the whole region is a global biodiversity hot spot, one of only 25 in the world, with less than 2% under conservation, making it the most threatened.
Of the plants species found here (1109), 286 are endemic, and 107 are Red Data List species, in an area of international importance in terms of conservation. At Namaqualand’s heart lies Namakwa National Park, a photographer’s paradise, with the Skilpad (tortoise) Wild Flower Reserve as its showpiece. This park is best-loved in spring, when precious rainfall causes the arid, semi-desert plains to erupt into a colourful carpet of wildflowers, and it’s possible to see shy bat-eared foxes, inquisitive meerkats, and “barking” geckos.
Travel to Goegap Nature Reserve for 600 different indigenous plant species, 45 mammal species and 94 bird species; and visit the Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden for quiver trees, halfmens bome (half human trees) and other floral rarities; and don’t miss Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve, for challenging hiking and several rare bird species.