Chasing Flowers in Namaqualand

Skilpad Nature Reserve Namaqualand

Road-tripping through South Africa’s Northern Cape to see the most beautiful flowers has been on our bucket list for a long time. During our trip, we discovered countless terraces of flowers and starry skies. Namaqualand is bone-dry for most of the year until a few raindrops transform the arid landscape into a kaleidoscope of colours. In this article, I will be sharing our road trip itinerary through South Africa’s Northern Cape and our Namaqualand Flower Tours, highlighting the breathtaking scenery and experiences.

Chasing flowers in Namaqualand Flower tours flowers sa #namakwalandblomme
Namaqualand Flower tours flowers sa #namakwalandblomme

Road Tripping to Augrabies

Gauteng to Northern Cape Road Trip

We left Pretoria and started our road trip through the Northern Cape early one morning during mid-August. However, we had to leave behind our furry friend, Dashuri, since pets are not allowed in National Parks. Instead of taking the toll road, we chose the N14 national route that passes through Gauteng, North West province, and the Northern Cape. As we drove along the N14, we observed a dramatic change in the scenery. We passed through Kuruman, a town known for its natural spring. Sadly, once a popular tourist attraction, the spring is now neglected and filled with rubbish. As a result, the Eye of Kuruman is currently inaccessible to visitors.

Overnight Between Gauteng and Augrabies

The Red Sands Lodge is 15km west of Kuruman, making it an ideal stopover for those heading to Namaqualand Flower Tours. The Red Sands Game Reserve offers chalets and a spacious Red Sands Campsite, where we spent the night. The reserve is home to 17 game species, farm animals, cute Mongoose families, and even a few Alpacas.

We highly recommend Kaufmann’s Kitchen restaurant on Red Sands’ premises. The atmosphere, food, and service were all excellent. We rose early the following day to have coffee and continue our trip towards Upington.

Our next stop was the mining town of Kathu, and from there, we travelled 220km to Upington. Halfway between Upington and Kakamas lies the charming town of Keimoes. Known for its Kokerboom Food & Wine route, Keimoes offers a unique and varied experience.

Next was Kakamas, home to the famous roadside stall, The Pink Padstal. Unfortunately, it was closed on Sunday afternoons. About 10 km outside Kakamas, take the R359/R64 turn-off to explore the Augrabies Falls National Park.

Gauteng to Northern Cape Augrabies National Park Hyrax sitting on the rocks next to the wooden walkway to Augrabies Falls. #roadtrippingtoaugrabies
Hyrax sits on the rocks.

Our Namaqualand Flower Journey

The region of Namaqualand, “Nama-Kwa,” takes its name from the Nama Khoe people who live along the coast. They cover an area of 440,000 km2.

The Best Time to Visit Namaqualand

During spring, after the first rains fall, the wildflowers in the north of South Africa bloom anytime from late July to early August. This is the best time to see the Namakwa flowers. If you’re planning to visit Namaqualand, it’s recommended that you go during spring, as you can expect to see sheets of orange and yellow daisies covering the region. Namaqualand, an arid region of 440,000 km², derives its name from the Nama Khoe people who extend along the west coast.

The flower route, commonly known as “The Namaqualand Flowers Route”, extends beyond Namaqualand in the north. The flower route includes other areas such as Clanwilliam, Cederberg, and the West Coast. It is worth noting that although the flower route is often referred to as “The Namaqualand Flowers Route”, Namaqualand is just one section of the beautiful route.

Augrabies to Springbok

As we journey from Augrabies to Springbok, the largest town in Namaqualand, we can’t help but feel inspired by the beauty of the blossoming flowers along the way. Springbok serves as the perfect starting point for exploring the Namaqualand flowers and as a gateway to other breathtaking destinations like the Cape Flower Route, the West Coast, and Namibia.

The Springbok Caravan Park, located a mere 2 km from town, offers clean amenities and electricity, ensuring we have everything we need as we immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature. With the convenience of stocking up on essential items in Springbok, we are excited to continue our journey and experience all this region offers. There are a few other Springbok self-catering accommodations.

Goegap Nature Reserve

The Goegap Nature Reserve is a popular 15,000-hectare semi-desert located about 15km east of Springbok. It can be accessed with a standard sedan. The Reserve features granite koppies and contains various indigenous plant species, including numerous succulents and Quiver trees. Additionally, the Reserve is home to about 45 mammal species, including the endangered Hartman’s Zebra, antelopes, honey badgers, and aardwolves.

Besides, Aardwolves and insect-eating hyenas are nocturnal and found in most habitats, living in dry, open savannas and grasslands. Bird lovers can bring their bird books and binoculars to admire 94 species of birds, including the Cape eagle owl. The Hester Malan Flower Garden, situated on 4,500 hectares inside the Goegap reserve, features a 17 km loop filled with an astonishing array of Namakwa succulents and wildflowers.

When is the Best time to visit Goegap Nature Reserve? The best time of year to visit the Goegap Nature Reserve is from late July to October. However, the blooming period may vary yearly, depending on the rainfall.

Hiking one of the Goegap hiking trails is another excellent way to explore and enjoy Goegap. Several trails range from a 2km walk to a longer 7km Myers Hiking trail. I recommend spending at least a night or two in the Reserve. There is so much to see, experience and appreciate in the Reserve.

Goegap Nature Reserve Accommodation

Book your Goegap Nature Reserve Camping spot way in advance during the flower season, as there are only 7 campsites. Along with a few chalets, accommodation at the Reserve is trendy.

Littledales whistling rat #goegap nature reserve mammals
Whistling rat at Goegap Nature Reserve

Activities at Goegap Nature Reserve

  • The Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden.
  • Walk through the Quiver Tree Forest
  • Picnicking at one of the several Picnic sites
  • Stargazing
  • Off-road routes for 4×4 enthusiasts.
  • Hiking and Mountain bike trails
  • Horse Trails: Call 0828775764 [email protected] 
Quiver trees at Goegap Nature Reserve #Kokerboom #Kokerboomtree #goegapnaturereserve
Quiver trees at Goegap Nature Reserve

Kamieskroon Namaqualand Flower Tours

The quaint little town of Kamieskroon is situated at the foothills of the Kamiesberge. Located south of Springbok, Kamieskroon is popular due to its location and abundance of wildflowers during spring.

Best Things to Do in Kamieskroon

1. Visit The Skilpad Wildflower Reserve

The Namaqua National Park includes the Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve. Winter rains transform the Namaqua National Park into shades of pinks, yellows, oranges and just about any colour you can imagine. Named after the Namaqua Speckled Padloper tortoises, the Skilpad Reserve has unique succulent and wildflower species. The Reserve is accessible by ordinary sedan vehicles; however, some roads are only accessible by 4×4 vehicles.

Mountain biking at Skilpad Wildflower Reserve: Another great way to explore the Skilpad Reserve is by mountain biking and going on one of the several short walking trails. The 5km Skilpad circular route leads to Soebatsfontein and descends to the Kamiesberg mountains.

How to get to Skilpad Reserve from Kamieskroon

To reach Skilpad Reserve from Kamieskroon, turn off to Kamieskroon and immediately turn left at the T-junction. Continue driving past the Kamieskroon hotel and follow the gravel road for about 21km.

Skilpad Wildflower Reserve
Skilpad Wildflower Reserve

2. Pay the attractive designed NG Church in Kamieskroon a visit during your Namaqualand Flower Tours.

3. Drive out to Leliefontein, 30km from Kamieskroon. The Leliefontein Pass is a 3.9km steep gravel pass that offers excellent scenery of the granite-clad mountain plateaus.

4. Mountain biking Routes Kamieskroon.

The two Leliesfontein routes are vastly different, with a 9km circular route, a longer, more challenging one, and a 49 km circular one. Another option is the 29km Nourivier route, which starts in Kamieskroon.

Where to Stay in Kamieskroon

  • The Skilpad rest camp has 4 chalets.
  • For Kamieskroon camping, we recommend Verbe Caravan Park Kamieskroon.
  • Visit Thys se Kombuis & Guest Lodge for a Namaqua farm experience.
  • Other Beautiful Places to Stay in Kamieskroon.
Kliphuis kombuis Kamieskroon restaurant #vetkoekeatkamieskroonkamieskroon #kamieskrooncamping

Where to Eat in Kamieskroon

The Kliphuis Kombuis, situated just as you enter Kamieskroon is a cosy coffee house selling food, cakes, honey, and gifts. We ordered Roosterkoek with Curry mince and Coffee.

The Roosterkoek was good, the Curry mince was bland, and unfortunately, the Coffee was undrinkable due to the brackish water. 

Garies

The Garies region is where you find over 40% of succulents, like nowhere else on Earth. Travelling the N7 from Kamieskroon to Garies town will take about 35 minutes. Garies is on the road map of the Namaqualand Flower route.

Best Things to Do in Garies

During your Namaqualand Blossom Expedition, visit the Garies Toeristestal. That is where one can obtain a map of the region and, at the same time, buy some snacks and a souvenir or gift.

Only 3.6km Northwest of Garies town is the provincial heritage site Letterklip (lettered rock)—the 8-minute drive via the main Road and well worth a visit. Where to stay Accommodation in Garies.

Kamieskroon to Garies Donkeycar with donkey's
Kamieskroon to Garies Donkeys
Letterklip, Provincial heritage site in Namaqualand, Northern Cape

During the Anglo-Boer War from 1901 to 1902, Letterklip was occupied by British forces and used as a post office.

As a result, the site comprises several enormous builders, with officers’ names engraved in the rockface.

Next, we’ve decided to head from Kamieskroon to Groenrivier, which is located in the coastal section of the Namaqualand National Park.

Divided by the Orange River into two sections, the Namaqualand National Park is a jewel that covers more than 440,000 square kilometres and stretches to the West Coast.

Along the Road to Groen Rivier, the Namaqualand Blossoms were everywhere alongside the Road. Our unique Groen River experience at the Namaqua National Park will follow shortly.

Groenrivier to Strandfontein West Coast

From Groenrivier, we travelled to Strandfontein, located about 120 km Northwest. Strandfontein is a small fishing village at the mouth of the Olifants River on the West Coast and is another hidden gem for those looking for tranquillity. Strandfontein Caravan Park offers two sections: Block A and the beachfront, where one chooses between private or communal amenities.

Block B, Horseshoe Strandfontein Caravan Park (or Perdeskoen), is a few meters further up the hill but within walking distance of the beach. Strandfontein accommodation options: Besides the Strandfontein Campsites, other self-catering accommodations include the Strandfontein resort chalets or book at one of the few guest houses. Previously known as Thornbay, the village of Doornbaai is only 7km from Strandfontein. Check prices and read reviews on Strandfontein Accommodation Chalets.

Fryers Cove Restaurant at Lighthouse and Coastal area of Doringbaai West Coast South Africa

Doringbaai Weskus

Our Namaqualand Flower Journey continues and brings us to the small fishing village of Doringbaai.

Doringbaai is known for the Doring Bay Abalone farming project and the not-to-be-missest Fryer’s Cove Vineyard restaurant overlooking the ocean.

Besides fresh oysters, Fryers Cove Doringbaai restaurant offers the best seafood at highly affordable prices.

I couldn’t find any Doringbaai camping sites under Doringbaai accommodation; therefore, we decided to camp at Strandfontein, only a stone’s throw away.

Strandfontein to Lamberts Bay

“The shortest route from Strandfontein to Lamberts Bay is a 58km gravel road in much better condition than the gravel road to Groenrivier. But when it started raining, we knew very well why there was a signboard saying, “Avoa signboard said rather.” The shortest route from Strandfontein to Lamberts Bay is a 58km gravel road in much better condition than the gravel road to Groenrivier.

But when it started raining, we knew very well why there was a signboard “Avoid the route during rainy weather.” The distance from Cape Town to Lamberts Bay is about 263 km and will take about 3 hours via the R366 and N7. Driving from Gauteng via the N12 is 1 342km and, depending on your stops, will take about 14 hours.

Our Campervan and Jimny at Fuel station in Lambertsbaai South Africa
Arriving at Lambertsbaai from Strandfontein

Lambertsbaai / Lamberts Bay

Our Namaqualand flour tour took us to the beautiful coastal town of Lamberts Bay. With its white sandy beaches, the fishing village of Lambertsbaai has become a significant tourist attraction due to its moderate all-year climate and abundant seafood.

Best Things to Do in Lamberts Bay

The Bird Island Nature Reserve

One of the biggest attractions is the tiny 3-ha Bird Island Nature Reserve, where visitors can see the blue-eyed Cape gannets. Unfortunately, during our time in Lamberts Bay, BBird Island was closed due to being only 100 m offshore. It is one of only six worldwide sites where Cape gannets breed.

Lamberts Bay beach

If the weather permits, go to the beach.

Sandveld Museum

If you’re into history, the Sandveld Museum depicts the town’s history. 

Fishing in Lamberts Bay

North of the Harbour, Anglers congregate to try their luck fishing for Galjoen, Steenbras, Kabeljou, and yellowtail.

Lambertsbaai Accommodation

Campers can choose between Malkoppan Caravan Park and the beachfront Lamberts Bay Caravan Park. Malkoppan Lamberts Bay Caravan Park is only 5km from town, across from the popular Muisbosskerm restaurant. Both are Pet-friendly out of season. The Lamberts Bay Municipal Caravan Park is located in town. Campers can choose between seafront camping sites with private ablution facilities or more private areas.

Unfortunately, even on the West Coast, one has to appreciate the ocean through a fence due to crime. There is a view of other Lambert’s Bay accommodation options for those not camping. Options include the Lamberts Bay Hotel, Guest House, and various Lambert’s Bay self-catering accommodations.

Lamberts Bay Restaurants

Choosing where to eat in Lamberts Bay won’t be challenging as there are a few fantastic restaurants.


It is a must for anyone in the area who wants a fantastic food experience, especially seafood and even Water Blommertjie Bredie. Visit Muisbosskerm for amazing Seafood Paella, Rollmops and Snoek, fresh bread with homemade Jams.

Location: R365, Lambert’s Bay, Western Cape. Contact no +27 27432 1017

The most popular is the Bosduifklip restaurant, where one can cheaply eat as much as possible. Other options are Roestyd-, Bayside Bean Tree, and Isabella’s restaurant overlooking the harbour.

This favourite restaurant is on the docks at Lamberts Bay. Besides tasty Fish & chips, seafood, and a few other dishes, there is a selection of craft beer. Isabellas is famous for delicious milkshakes, cheesecake and waffles.

Cape Seals at Elands bay #Elandsbaai Seals on the rocks at Elands Bay

Elandsbaai or Elands Bay

Part of the Diamond of the West Coast, Elands Bay, is known for lobsters and caves with rock paintings. Besides enjoying the beach, drive to nearby places like Lamberts Bay, Laaiplek and Dwarskersbos.

We spot a large seal family on the Rocks in Elands Bay. Besides whale-watching, this stretch of the Cape West Coast is where the rare Heaviside’s dolphin is often seen.

Best Accommodation in Elands Bay.

Dwarskersbos

The peaceful fishing village of Dwarskersbos lies some 11 km North of Laaiplek and has a character of its own. Laaiplek derives its name from the plant Dwarskersbos and boasts the longest uninterrupted sandy beach that stretches from Velddrif to Elands Bay. In 1969, a 6m tidal wave caused havoc when it broke through the dunes and flooded several homes. 

Dwarskersbos Accommodation Options

The very popular seafront Dwarskersbos Beach Resort caters to everyone and offers camping and self-catering chalets. Dwarskersbos Caravan Park is right on the beach and offers 125 levelled campsites. Although it is not grassed, there is plenty of shade, and all the Dwarskersbos Camping sites have electrical points, braai facilities, ablutions and a laundry. Parents with children will be happy to know that there is a kiddies’ playground.

Additionally, the resort offers the Dwarskersbos Chalets, consisting of 12 Luxury two-bedroom chalets with a kitchenette, a lounge-, and a dining area. Besides that, the resort has 5 Rondawels, thoroughly equipped for self-catering with a Bathroom. Guests must only bring their bedding and Towels.

Laaiplek

Lying on the west side of Veldrif town, the small village of Laaiplek is almost indistinguishable from Velddrif and is where the fishing boats offload their day’s catch. Visit the Laaiplek Hotel for an ice-cold beer & something to eat while admiring the view from their wooden deck. We wanted to spend a few days in Jacobs Bay and St Helena Bay but headed to Clanwilliam instead due to the lousy weather.

Clanwilliam

“The 200-year-old Clanwilliam town is known for the Ramskop Wildflower Reserve, the Clanwilliam museum, and the annual Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show.

The Clanwilliam town is centrally located and worth spending a night or two during your Namaqualand Flower tours. Don’t miss Tolla se sentrum in town for many leather shoes and other leather items.

Their “Veldskoene Clanwilliam” made them famous. Another scenic route is to drive to Wupperthal along the Biedouw Valley Pass. Then, follow the dirt road ascent of the Uitkyk Pass, which promises another spectacular viewpoint.

Tolla se winkel Clanwilliam on our Namaqualand blossem Journey
Sevilla Rock Art Trail  on our Namaqualand flower tour

The Cederberg Wilderness

Our Namaqualand flower tours lead us to the Spectacular Cederberg Wilderness area, filled with things to see and do. Besides the breathtaking landscapes, the Bushman’s Caves with Sevilla Rock Art.

Unique historical places like Truitjieskraal, Wolfbeg Arch, and Wolfberg Cracks exist. Route 364 will take you through the Pakhuis Pass to the spectacular Cederberg.

This part of South Africa is beautiful, out of the ordinary, and a must-visit. With so much to experience, one must stay at least two or more nights in the Cederberg.

Namaqualand flower tour

Vanrhynsdorp

Situated on the edge of the Knersvlakte, VanRhynsdorp lies between the Matzikamma- and Gifberg Mountains. The sheep farming district of Vanrhynsdorp is also known as the world’s bulb capital.

Vanrhynsdorp Accommodation

Besides the many guest houses, the Vanrhynsdorp Caravan Park is very popular, offering Vanrhynsdorp camping sites as well as self-catering Accommodations. Check prices for Places to Stay in Van Rhynsdorp.

Nieuwoudtville

How to get from Vanrhynsdorp to Nieuwoudtville

Our Namaqualand flower tour took us to Nieuwoudtville from Vanrhynsdorp, which is quite an experience, especially when reaching a summit of 825 metres above sea level while driving the 9km up the Vanrhynsdorp Pass. The small town of Nieuwoudtville is a popular tourist destination, especially during the wildflower season and is ideally situated to continue your Namaqua flower tour. Where to Stay in Nieuwoudtville

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Namaqualand flower tours road trip #Namaqualand flower tours

Best Things to Do Around Niewoudtville

Visit the Dutch reformed church that dwarfs the town. Its foundation stone was laid in 1906, after the devastation of South Africa by the Boer War. For the best Namaqualand flowers tour, drive to Matjiesfontein farm, Boereplaas, and Papkuilsfontein.

No Namaqualand Flower voyage will be complete without a visit to The Blou Huis, where the hosts, Johan and Liezl, will treat you like Kings. Besides their hospitality, the vibe and their food are immaculate.

Loeriesfontein

From Nieuwoudtville, it is a 70km drive to the small town of Loeriesfontein. Arriving at Loeriesfontein, one can visit the Fred Turner Folk and Culture Museum, where you will experience the way of life of the Voortrekkers.

Besides an old Ossewa (wagon), tent, horse mill, and a termite mound, which the Voortrekkers used to keep food cool, there is a range of items. Outside the museum, one can admire an extensive windmill collection. Accommodation in Loeriesfontein

And so our unique Namaqualand Flower Tours ends in Nieuwoudtville.

Namaqualand Weather

The winter temperatures average between 8°C and 18°C, while in summer, the climate is between 17°C and 30°C, with the highest rainfall periodically between June to August. You might want to check out the following Posts:

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