GARDENS OF THE NORTHERN CAPE: GARDENS AND WILDFLOWER RESERVES

South Africa boasts an untamed beauty like no other. Each province offers a unique variety of beautiful flowers and rare plants. The Northern Cape is well known for its diamonds buried deep within the earth and more off its coastline.

However, the arid land has a treasure trove of fynbos and succulents scattered across its surface. From the quiver tree forest to the brightly coloured flowers, the province has much to offer.

If lockdown has you wishing to be free then have a look at these beautiful gardens, you may find some inspiration for your own garden or even for a post lockdown trip.

Here is a list of gardens and flower reserves to visit:

Hantam National Botanical Garden (Nieuwoudtville)

Resting on the Bokkevelt Plateau, you will find the youngest of South Africa’s nine National Botanical Gardens. Stretching across over 6000 hectares of land, the Hantam National Botanical Garden claims the title of the largest of the gardens.

Home to over 1350 recorded plant species as well as a variety of pollinators ranging from insects and even rodents. And with nine different trails to explore, you are in for quite the experience.

From August to mid-October the plateau is blanketed in a rainbow of colours following the heavy winter rain. And although these bright floral displays fade away near the end of October, there are plenty of other plants to view throughout the seasons.

Skilpad Wildflower Reserve (Namaqualand)

Like Hantam, winter rain brings life to the Skilpad Wildflower Reserve. The 930-hectare reserve is an oasis when compared to the shrubland surrounding it.

Between July and September, the usually dry land is carpeted by orange, white and yellow Namaqualand daisies. As well as a number of bulbous plants, better known to us as vygies, which produce pink flowers.

The reserve was founded in 1988 by the World Wild Fund of Nature (WWF), in order to preserve and protect the diverse Namaqualand flora. And forms a part of the Namaqua National Park. A bustling tourist attraction during springtime.

Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve (Nieuwoudtville, Upper Karoo)

If you’re the adventurous type, the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve is the one for you. This reserve spreads across 4776 hectares of untamed mountains, caves and plateaus. Split apart by winding rivers and deep river gorges. Through these gorges runs the Oorlogskloof passing through the Karoo and fynbos biomes.

Altogether, each feature creates a picturesque view enhanced only by the springtime blooms following the rainy seasons.

Oorlogskloof is not for the faint-hearted. It is well known for its intense hiking trails, two of which are 50 km long and take up to 4 days to complete. However, if you are not an avid hiker, a 2-hour trail will allow you to experience part of the reserve.

These are only a few of the many gardens and reserves you can visit in the Northern Cape.

Here are some more nature reserves and extra flower routes to look into:

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