The Goegap Nature Reserve was named by the Nama people for the reed-filled water spring here. The Nama were entirely dependent on the fountain water in this arid biodiversity hot spot near the town of Springbok, where semi-desert birds, animals and the wild flowers of Namaqualand flourish.

Did you know?

Goegap Nature Reserve also contains a succulent collection called the Hester Malan Wildflower Garden.

Life in the Goegap Nature Reserve offers a different world every spring. ‘I have been here since 2006 and each flower season is a surprise package,’ says Maxie Jonk, the manager of Goegap Nature Reserve.

‘In 2006 we had an “orange” year – where the veld was alive with all the orange species you find in the wild flowers of Namaqualand, such as the gazanias. The following year the veld was so thickly carpeted with white flowers it looked like it was covered in snow. The next year the veld was dominated by Namaqualand daisies…’

A combination of when the region gets rain and the temperature variations determines what flowers the veld produces each year.

In addition to its flowers, this well-maintained reserve, situated 15km from the town of Springbok, offers some of the best wildlife and birding in the Northern Cape.

Over 45 species of mammals are found here, including the endangered Hartmann’s zebra (also known as the Hartmann's mountain zebra), the aardwolf and the honey badger, as well a wide variety of antelope. To date, 94 species of birds have been recorded here, including the Cape eagle owl, marsh harrier and the cinnamon-breasted warbler.

The Myers hiking trail is an excellent option for those wanting to see a wide variety of wildlife. Several hikes are offered – from 2km to 8km to accommodate all ages and fitness levels. A 72-year-old gentleman from the Netherlands who completed the 7km trail hike with two walking sticks takes line honours at the Goegap Nature Reserve.

Hikers, mountain bikers and 4x4 enthusiasts have a choice of routes and trails marked out for them, while the Goegap Mountain Bike Challenge is a hotly contested annual event.

As Jonk puts it: ‘Whatever your interests, this area is absolutely fantastic. I don’t think anybody can come here and not be touched by it. As for the stargazing and the full moon … I can assure all visitors they have never experienced anything like it.’

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Goegap Nature Reserve
Manager: Maxie Jonk
Tel: +27 (0)27 718 9906
Email: maxiejonk@gmail.com

How to get here

Follow the N7 from Cape Town up the Cape West Coast to Springbok – the journey takes about four to five hours – or follow the N14 from Upington. Head 15km east from Springbok to find the Goegap Nature Reserve.

Best time to visit

Late July/August to October to see the spring flowers. Depending on the rains and temperature, the flowers may be earlier or later from year to year.

Around the area

The historical towns of Springbok and Loeriesfontein are worth a visit.

Get around

It's best to drive yourself or book a Namaqualand flower tour.

Length of stay

Plan to spend three to five days all together in your round trip, as distances are great and the flowers don't open if it is cloudy or raining.

What to pack

Clothing for hot days and cool nights. Binoculars, walking shoes, cameras, mountain bikes.

Where to stay

Goegap has seven campsites without electricity, basic but clean and neat thatched-roof bush huts, and a self-catering guest house.

What to eat

Goegap Nature Reserve has a kiosk in season – from August to mid-October – where breakfasts and lunches, cold drinks and snacks are available. Out of season or if you are staying overnight, you can purchase your food and drinks in Springbok. For a lunchtime picnic or braai, there are several superbly chosen rest spots.

What's happening

The Goegap Mountain Bike Race is a hotly contested annual event.