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Scenery and flowers in Namaqualand.
Mention Namaqualand to a visitor to South Africa and wild flowers comes to mind. Yet this spectacular transformation of barren fields to carpets of stunningly beautiful and diverse flowers every spring is not the only attraction in this arid region of the Northern Cape Province. Namaqualand has a fascinating history and the small towns and settlements are filled with colourful characters and their strange dialects and unusual customs. It’s a place where diamonds lie scattered on restricted beaches and once-productive mines have fallen to ruin, many overlooked by fortresses erected on hills during the South African war of 1899 to 1902.
The Cederberg Mountain range falls within the Namaqualand area, as does the Clanwilliam Dam, both regularly visited by holiday makers, boaters, mountain climbers and hikers. Further north, the teal-tinged hills give hints of copper rich rocks.
For a truly enriching experience, take the time to engage with the inhabitants, to enjoy their hospitality and allow them to enthusiastically show you the region’s many attractions.
Top 8 reasons to visit Namaqualand
1. The attractive Clanwilliam Dam is grassed to enjoy a picnic along the banks or on the dam in a leisure craft. While in the area, visit Clanwilliam to sample the snack foods typical to the region: rooibos tea, roosterkoek (bread baked over an open fire) and koeksisters (syrup coated dough).
2. Lovers of the outdoors will appreciate the Cederberg Wilderness Area, criss-crossed with paths leading through strange rock formations, and passing waterfalls, ancient rock art and refreshing rock pools. Be on the lookout for the rare Cape leopard.
3. The VOC Governor Simon Van der Stel travelled to the Okiep area in 1685 to assess a copper find and the shafts dug by his party are still visible on the Koperberg. Okiep has several examples of striking stonework buildings constructed by Cornish miners during the 1870s copper boom.
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