Namaqua National Park Flower Report
According to Park Manager, Bernard van Lente we had very early, good rains in March and April, and then a hot dry spell in May. “It has since rained regularly and continuously during August, with two 50mm plus weekends towards the end of August. Since the beginning of September we have had constant warm sunny days, which are predicted to last at least through the coming weekend.”
The flowers (particularly the orange daisy ‘carpets’) were earlier than normal for Skilpad and some sections of the park, and there are signs that they will not last much longer and are already becoming patchy. The farms just outside and next to the park still have very good flower carpets, this is because of different grazing patterns from their sheep which led to the flowers blooming later than in the park.
The recent heavy rains have drenched the soil, and this has allowed other flowering plants to become much more prominent. The Gazanias in particular are spectacular. Varkiesknol (Herria elongata); Meidesterte (Lapeirosia sp.); Sporries (Heliophila sp); (Babiana sp); Gansogies; Senecios, Beetle daisies and a variety of bulbs and other species can be seen.
Because of the ‘carpets’ going down but the species increasing, it is recommended that visitors do some of the short hikes at Skilpad, this way you will definitely see more than driving with your car. (Visitors are not allowed to walk in the flowers and must please stick to the road and hiking trails.)
The N7 all the way from Van Rhyns Dorp to Steinkopf has some very good patches on the roadside and adjacent land, particularly purple vygies. The access road to Skilpad also has flower carpets as you approach the park but the road to Skilpad from Kamieskroon has had some rain damage but can be driven (slowly) with a normal sedan vehicle.
“For those guests with a 4x4 vehicle the coastal section of Namaqua National Park from the Spoeg river to the Groen remains excellent. We expect the coastal flowers to last quite a while,” said Van Lente.
Rainfall, Skilpad section, Namaqua National Park:
- March 2013: 38.09mm (most of it on 29-31 March)
- April 2013: 46.74mm
- May 2013: 12.69mm
- June 2013: 76.71mm
- July 2013: 30.99mm
- August 2013: 120mm (estimate)
Please note that SANParks can only speak with authority on the National park and close surrounds, but there are reports of good flowers in most other areas of Namaqua.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Arid Region Communications
Tel: 012 426 5065
Gabrielle “Gabby” Venter
Acting Regional Communications Manager: Arid, SANParks
Tel: 012 426 5065; Cell: 083 825 9435
Namaqua National Park, Skilpad Office
Tel: 027 672 1948