The plant life of the Richtersveld is special and unique. The area has the highest diversity of succulent plants in the world. No wonder then that it is a World Heritage Site consisting of three biomes – desert, succulent Karoo, and fynbos.
The beginning of the flower season varies from year to year but it usually occurs between August and October.
Millions of brightly colored flowers pop up almost overnight. Similarly, the typically dry and quite harsh landscape is transformed into a wonderland of flower carpets – an unbelievable feast for the eyes. Namaqualand (Afrikaans: Namakwaland) daisies are a favorite amongst tourists because their orange, yellow, and white flowers create a magical flower carpet. Truly a festival of flowers for as far as the eye can see. This is the time when you fall short of words.
Without sowing a single seed, the flowers sow themselves year after year. Year after year they create messages of splendor and symbolizing love.
There is a narrative about how Namaqualand’s flowers got there. God created the entire earth with its fauna and flora. He then had a handful of mixed seeds in his hand, gazing over the landscape with the sun in His eyes. And so He sneezed and his hand opened at that exact second and the seeds were blown over the barren land. And this is how it all started! What a beautiful story, right!?
It’s also believed that spring comes to an end when the purple vygies bloom.
This conservation area has the highest concentration of succulent plants in any of the world’s parched regions.
The unparalleled vast Richtersveld landscape, with some rocks up to 2000 million years old, offers an unending terrain of natural wonders hosting plants with the most unusual Afrikaans common names.
The ‘Kokerboom’ (Afrikaans common name) has hollow root-like branches which were used by the San people as quivers for their arrows. Thereby naming the tree also the Quiver Tree (Aloidendron pillansii).
We were extremely lucky to have seen a Kukumakranka in bloom. The Kukumakranka is a rare plant and to see it in bloom was the best!
Halfmens (Half human trees, Pachypodium namaquanum)
1. Botterblom, 2. Noordkyker, 3. Vleikoraal, 4.Soutslaai, 5. Woestynroos
1. Kokerboom, 2. Sandslaai, 3. Pedunculata, 4. Strepiesaalwyn, Strichiata, 5. Boesmandruiwe
1. Vygie, 2. Kukumakranka, 3. Tulp, 4.Perdeblom, 5. Nooienskokerboom
According to an oft-quoted saying about the area, in Namaqualand you weep twice: once when you first arrive and once when you have to leave.
The Richtersveld is located in the Namaqualand region, a mountainous desert area situated in the northwestern part of South Africa, close to the border with Namibia. Sparsely populated, the region stretches south from the Orange to the empty Knersvlakte plains around Vanrhynsdorp, and from the Atlantic coast to the edge of the Great Karoo.
Generally, the Richtersveld Challenge tours’ wheels start turning from Springbok. You have two airport choices:
Springbok is the best base for flowers because the nearby Namaqua National Park provides reliable displays even in years of low rainfall, when displays elsewhere may be muted.
Cat Nap accommodation is in the center of Springbok, which is also the region’s capital. They are on 99 Voortrekker Street, opposite the tourist office. Call them at +27 718 1905, or email email@example.com. Attractive African-themed rooms, two with bathrooms, and twelve rudimentary pull-down bunks in the garage, with a kitchenette – there’s even room for you to park your vehicle beside your bed. Bunks 1, rooms 2.
I recommend that you book well in advance.
Well, that is also not the end of the world. It may be arranged when you make your reservation at Cat Nap.