Gone fishing…for flowers

12 Aug

On Friday morning, bright and early, we are off to see a miracle. Okay, it is an annual miracle and the timing is quite predictable, so by definition maybe it is not a miracle, but it probably is as close as you can get!

Let me explain…

20130812-105137.jpgNamaqualand is a large area of arid land, extending along the west coast of South Africa. The area encompass two biome echo regions in South Africa, called the Nama Karoo and the Succulent Karoo. Basically, the entire area is semi desert and is bounded by the Namib desert to the north, and the Cape Floral Kingdom with it’s world famous Fynbos, to the south.

At first glance, the area does not look like anything spectacular, with some extreme temperatures in summer and winter, but it certainly has its own unique beauty. The Succulent Karoo boasts to house the world’s richest flora of succulent plants, and harbours about a third of the 10 000 species of succulents in the world. And to the east you find the Nama Karoo, with more summer rainfall.

However, this is not intended to be a geology lesson, but to set the background to the annual phenomenon that happens in this region in Spring. Overnight, this arid, semi dessert region transforms into a flower wonderland, with colorful flower carpets everywhere! A kaleidoscope of flowers.

Namaqualand daisies!

Namaqualand daisies!

The most common are the Namakwa daisies, yellow and orange flowers that hail from this region and springs up as if from barren ground during August and September every year. But, on top of this several other species of wild flowers colours the area, including vygies and gousblomme.

I have heard of this phenomenon many times in my life, and I have seen many pictures of this wonderland, but can you believe, I have never been!

For those who don’t know, South Africa is a huge country, and from where I stay, it is more than a 1000 kilometers’ drive to get there. So we are doing a bit of a road trip. We are all brushing up on our Afrikaans, as this is also the most common language in the area (95%). I grew up Afrikaans, but are living and working in an English denominated city, so my Afrikaans is littered with English words and phrases… My girls, both in English schools, are in for a surprise… And I am taking my mom along. It has been a life-long dream of hers to see the flowers.

I am looking forward, not only to the spectacular flowers, but also to mingling with the locals, eating some fantastic Karoo dishes, and soaking up the culture in an unique and remote part of this country. A bit of a pilgrimage. A chance to stop, and smell the flowers. Literally.


Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Family, Travel


Tags: , , , , , , ,

9 responses to “Gone fishing…for flowers

  1. Madoqua

    August 12, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    This sounds so awesome. Seeing the Namaqualand flowers in bloom is on my bucket list. It’s a little futher for me to travel, I need to come half way round the world first, but this I intend to do!

    • Justcallmegertie

      August 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm

      I am sure it will be awesome! I will definitely post some pictures. I want to take my kids to Aus for holiday…we can swap :-).

      • Madoqua

        August 28, 2013 at 6:13 am

        Australia is so similar to souhern Africa in many respects, but also so unique in many others. I am sure you would love it, particularly if you can get out into the wide open spaces which you seem to enjoy given your post above!

      • Justcallmegertie

        August 28, 2013 at 11:15 am

        I have been to Perth by myself a few years ago, but I want to go and do a Perth/Sydney trip. I have many friends and family in both cities, just to find the time and the money, inbetween school holidays etc…maybe next year December….

  2. Eha

    August 13, 2013 at 5:37 am

    Thank you for the wonderful post! I should have worked the possibilities of this out myself, but had only thought oft he wonderland of our West Australian spring where the same occurs in similar circumstances but seemingly just a tad later! Wonderful you can go en famiile: have a fantastic time – and, yes please, may we have some photos also 🙂 ! Gerda, I hope you do not mind if I share . . . .

    • Justcallmegertie

      August 13, 2013 at 5:57 am

      I will, absolutely, share some pictures! And yes, you are welcome to share…:-). Strangely, spring starts a bit earlier up north, closer to the Namibian border and then start spreading (?) south until the flower reach cape town in early September. And they are expecting loads of flowers this year, as a result of lots of rain!

  3. Kathryn McCullough

    August 14, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Looks stunning, Gertie! We’ve all got to stop and smell the flowers from time to time.

    As an American, I have to chuckle when you say SA is such a “huge” country. All is relative, I suppose, isn’t it? Still 1000 kilometers is a LONG way, in my mind, as well.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • Justcallmegertie

      August 14, 2013 at 2:54 pm

      Hi Kathy!
      I have been watching the flower reports all week (yes, they even have a flower hotline!) and I am getting more and more excited!
      Size of the country is very relative. I just always find that people I meet when travelling think SA is small. Driving down to cape town will take 15+ hours!
      I am planning on taking loads of pics to load!
      Hugs back!


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