This arid region of Namibia and South Africa covers a total area of about 170,000 square miles. Split by the Orange River into Little Namaqualand and Great Namaqualand, this region is a colourful land hidden away from the rest of the world. The land of Great Namaqualand is inhabited by the Namaqua (who area a Khoikhoi people) since many centuries. Blessed with beautiful natural scenery during the spring time, this region attracts a lot of local as well as foreign tourists throughout the entire year.
The Town of Springbok
Springbok, the capital town of this region is also the largest town in the Namaqualand region. Due to its idle location it is a favourite amongst tourists on their way to Namibia. The town gets its main income from tourism activities, copper mining and farming. While at Springbok you can visit the City museum located in an old synagogue. You could also take a leisurely stroll through the town of Springbok and also visit the Blue Mine. The town is nestled in a beautiful valley with mountains and hills surrounding it on all sides. This provides the town with one of the most spectacular hill views of all time, especially during the spring time when the colourful wildflowers bloom all over the mountains. Numerous hotels and motels are built around the town for the comfort of the tourist and most of them provide spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
The Town of Bitterfontein
Bitterfontein is a charming, quiet and serene little village with a laid back pace of life. It is perfect for winding down after a long trip and relaxing. You can visit the local shops and arrange to see some local dance performances in the area while you’re here. Often you can see people baking bread in clay ovens outside and also riding donkey driven carts along the streets. This town has a unique ancient feel that very few other towns these days have. Also the landscape of Bitterfontein has beautiful gently sloping hills with colourful blooming flowers in the spring season. The many country roads here are wonderful for hiking, for cycling or for running.
Alexander Bay is a lovely little mining town located on the South bank of the Orange River mouth. Various copper and diamond mines were established here in the early days. Being a coastal town, and also a part of the colourful Namaqualand region, it is blessed with a colourful view of the blooming flowers during the spring season as well as a wonderful view of the coast and the bay.
The Namaqua National Park
The Namaqua National Park was basically established to help preserve and protect the many thousands of colourful and beautiful flowers in the Namaqualand region This mesmerizing park is a part of the semi-desert ‘Succulent Karoo Biome’ which is considered as one of the rarest and most unique type of biome in the world. This National park has the highest concentration of succulent plants in the world in any arid region. Approximately 40% of these species are endemic while 18% are threatened. . During spring season flowers seem to bloom on every surface. This remarkable and aesthetically pleasing sight is one of the main tourist attractions of the National Park. These colourful flowers include flowers such as daisies, lilies, aloes and perennial herbs.
About 4,000 plant species grow in this region and this unique diversity adds to the beauty and splendour of this place. With an estimate of 100,000 tourists per year tourism is boosted by the government to help the economy and ecology of the Namaqualand region. Many tourists simply come to see the blooms in the spring season. The facilities for tourists include long scenic routes, picnic spots, two nature walks, and information centres. There are also chalets available for accommodation in the Park.
The Goegap Natural Reserve
Boasting some marvellous scenery of colourful flowers in spring season, the Goegap Natural Reserve also offers three hours guided tours in open trucks for the tourists. The Goegap Reserve also showcases a record of 45 mammalian species including the Hartman’s Zebra which is an endangered species and also the aardwolf, amongst numerous other wonderful species. For bird lovers there are about 92 different species of birds to view including the great ostriches, spotted dikkops and bald eagles. This wonderful Nature Reserve is blessed with scenic surroundings and a thriving flora and fauna.
The Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
This ruggedly beautiful park offers a dramatic landscape of high mountains and an arid desert scenery. An astonishing variety of plant life, some being species that are not found elsewhere, are also to be found in this land. Gnarled quiver trees, tall aloes and quaint ‘half-mens’ stand tall over this inscrutable landscape. The Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is looked after by the Nama people and by the South African National Parks. This park contains one of the world’s richest desert flora in the form of miniature rock gardens, and tiny succulent plants. Being an extremely arid region most of its moisture comes in the form of the early morning fog from the Atlantic ocean which the locals refer to as ‘Malmokkies’