The Namaqua region's big skies, endless desert and carpets of flowers are all the reason you need to visit. Every year from July to September, the Namaqualand desert explodes into life. No fewer than 4 000 species of flowers, 1 000 unique to the region, paint the desert in colours that defy the skill of the greatest painter.
In spring, head to Namaqualand to find the flowers on the N7. The action starts five hours from Cape Town around the towns of Garies, Springbok, Kamieskroon and Port Nolloth. Get out and walk in the fields of gold.
Enrich your experience of Namaqualand tourism by staying in a nature reserve. The 1 000-ha Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve (part of the Namaqua National Park) west of Kamieskroon is a prime location, close to the coast, it's less dry than neighbouring areas. The Kamiesberg mountains offer superb mountain biking.
Birdlovers relish Goegap Nature Reserve, with 92 bird species, including majestic black eagles. A guided tour in an open truck lets you share their view.
The audacious are rewarded by the Richtersveld National Park, a stark lunar wilderness of gold, yellow, pink, white and purple. This World Heritage Site also hosts numerous animal, bird and plant species, including the uncanny halfmens succulent, named after its resemblance to a human silhouette. Warning: a 4x4 is mandatory in this terrain.
But Namaqua activities go beyond daisies. Why not go rafting down the Orange river? You needn't be fit or experienced: qualified river guides make sure you can just enjoy the scenery, swim, and fish.
And a truly primal experience: desert fly-fishing. Fly-fishing camps are held from May to September on the Orange River in the Richtersveld National Park. Fishing in pleasant temperatures for yellow fish, mudfish and barbel as fish eagles wheel overhead. You can't get much closer to nature than that.
HOW TO GET HERE
The Namakwa region is some five hours' drive from Cape Town along the West Coast Road.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit is after the winter rains from July to September when the Namakwaland flowers bloom.
AROUND THE AREA
View Khoisan rock art near Hopetown
Visit legendary diamond-mining town Kimberly and the Big Hole.
TOURS TO DO
Vist the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) at Sutherland.
To explore the Namakwa region at your leisure, it is advisable to hire a car.
WHERE TO STAY
Contact Namakwa Region information offices for information on accommodation ranging from backpackers to campsites, caravan parks, self-catering, bed-and-breakfast, guest houses, lodges and hotels.
- spellbinding floral displays
- outdoor adventure activities
- a variety of nature reserves
- trails through landscapes resembling the face of the moon
- rare plants
- unique watersports and fishing opportunities