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TThe Wildflower Route in the Northern Cape is a vision of flowers that will colour your imagination for the rest of your days. If you are a lover of nature and outdoor activities then a visit to see the flowers of South Africa is a must.
The blooms of South Africa’s flower routes occur from July until October each year so you have plenty of time to linger longer and smell the flowers. The province offers five flower regions — Diamond Fields, Karoo, Green Kalahari, Kalahari and Namaqua, the latter being the most spectacular.
In the Northern Cape, Namaqualand daisies and more than 3500 floral species emerge in spring – from early August to the end of September and offer one of the world’s greatest flower shows. The route also offers quaint towns and hidden gems, which make it a special experience to remember forever.
IIt is most definitely worth the three-hour journey up the N7 from Cape Town, branching at Vanrhynsdorp. This takes you to your first stop: the 6200-hectare Hantam National Botanical Garden, just outside the village of Nieuwoudtville. Known as the “bulb capital of the world”, its soils contain startling numbers of geophytes.
WWhile most visitors come to see the spring flowers, autumn in Nieuwoudtville offers another spectacular flower display, when the Amaryllidaceae species come out to play. The Hantam National Botanical Garden also offers a choice of hiking trails and mountain bike routes, as do several farms in the area.
From Nieuwoudtville, head back up the N7 to the 150 000-hectare Namaqua National Park, where flowers bloom as far as the eye can see. There are several floral hotspots along the way, including the Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve in Kamieskroon. This route leads all the way to the Namaqualand town of Springbok and beyond to the 7000-hectare Goegap Nature Reserve.
HHiking, eco-trails, day drives, mountain bike and 4x4 routes are all on offer in and around both reserves. You can also learn about pollinators including butterflies, bees and birds, as well as wildlife such as the bat-eared fox, steenbok and Cape porcupine.
The information offices at the Namaqua National Park and in Nieuwoudtville offer maps and information. So take off at least a week and enjoy the long road to the land of colour and imagination; the Northern Cape has a wide variety of tourism offerings and is not only suited to flower lovers. It is also a province rich with heritage and culture and even offers the adventure enthusiast an endless list of activities, such as hiking, canoeing and stargazing. There are many self-drive routes for tourists to explore and the roads are easy to navigate.