Introduction

As if by magic a tapestry of brilliant colours unfold enticingly along the winding roads of the Namaqua National Park. Butterflies, birds and long-tongued flies dart around among the flowers, seemingly overwhelmed by the abundance and diversity.

Every turn in the road paints an unforgettable picture: valleys filled with Namaqualand daisies and other spring flowers that pulse with sheer energy and joy. Next to some eye-catching succulents, a porcupine and a tall aloe pay witness to a baboon overturning a rock and pouncing on a scorpion. During early August and September, seemingly overnight, the dusty valleys of Namaqualand are transformed into a wonderland, carpeted with wildflowers. With its winter rainfall, Namaqualand is home to the richest bulb flora of any arid region in the world and more than a 1 000 of its estimated 3 500 plant species are found nowhere else on earth.

Escape to the land of contrasts, where the rigorous climate has created a myriad of life forms superbly adapted to their specific habitat. Fields of flowers, star studded nights, quiver trees, enormous granite outcrops and the icy Atlantic are but a few wonders that await the visitor to what is truly the Creators’ playground.

5 Things To Seek

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Accommodation

Skilpad Rest Camp

Namaqua Flowers Beach Camp

Background

South African National Parks working together SA Experiences will again be setting up a temporary tented camp at Namaqua National Park to operate during the flower season. The camp will be situated at Delwerskamp, a coastal site about 1km from the Groenrivier office and is easily accessible by ordinary sedan vehicle. The temporary luxury camp will operate from 15 August to 15 September 2014 and bookings have already opened. In 2015, the camp will operate from 14 August to 14 September 2015.

Accommodation

10 x Dome Tents

Meals

Activities

Rates

Namaqua Flowers Beach Camp
Accommodation type
No. of units
Base rate per night
Base guests
Beds
Add. adult
Add. child
DT2 (dome tent)
Dome tent with 2 single beds
10
R 2775
1
2
R 925
R 925
Please Note:

How to get there

The camp is accessible by normal sedan vehicle via Groen River gate. Please note that due to tough terrain normal sedan cannot be used further than the camp. In order to explore Namaqua National Park a 4x4 vehicle is required. To enhance the visitor experience of the park guests are advised to use 4x4 vehicles.

Special Requests

Bookings

Direct Public Bookings

SANParks will only handle direct public booking online at Central Reservations (i.e SANParks Head Office Call Centre and Front Office only).
Book online
Tel: +2712428 9111
Email reservations@sanparks.org

Please Note:

Travel Trade bookings

Any registered tour operator wishing to refer clients to the Namaqua Flowers Beach Camp should book through the SANParks Travel Trade Offices.

Contact Details: Pretoria Office: Tel: +27 (0) 12 426 5025, Fax: +27 (0) 12 426 5488, e-mail: traveltrade@sanparks.org

Coastal Camp Sites

 

Camp Site

Description

Delwerskamp

Delwerskamp (S 30° 49' 33.4"; E 17° 33' 56.6")

- 1km from Groen river gate. - 7 sites, 3 Enviro loos, no ablutions. - A 4x4 is not required to reach this camp from Groen river gate. General: This camp sits on a rocky shore and has a beautiful small beach just to the north of the camp. The beaches northward are popular for hiking.

Delwerskamp Groen River (S 30° 51" 12.0; E 17° 34 " 31.7 ) - 1km south of Groen river mouth/ estuary.
- 12 sites; 6 Enviro loos; no ablutions.
- This camp terrain can be reached with a sedan vehicle from Garies (73km gravel road).
- Guests have to book in at the Groen River Office, about 3km from the campsite.
- General: Groen river Camp Site is just south of the Groen river estuary. The campsites are close to a rocky shore, with sandy beaches just south of the lighthouse, and north at Groen River Mouth.

Kwass (S 30° 41' 45.8"; E 17° 29' 14.6")

- 18.7km from Groen river gate. - 4 sites, each with a windbreak wall and braai area; 2 Enviro loos, no ablutions. - A 4x4 is required to reach this camp. General: Kwass is known for its beautiful, quiet bay and the long sandy beach to the south. This is a very good area for vygies in the flower season.

Varswater (S 30° 41' 12.5"; E 17° 28' 45.4")

- 20km from Groen river gate. - 4 sites, each with a windbreak wall and braai area; 2 Enviro loos, no ablutions. - A 4x4 is required to reach this camp. General: The camp is close to the rocky beach. There are small bays close by.

Bamboeskamp (S 30° 40' 25.9"; E 17° 28' 20.0")

- 21.5km from Groen river gate. - 4 sites, each with a windbreak wall and braai area; 2 Enviro loos, no ablutions. - A 4x4 is required to reach this camp. General: This camp has large open camping areas. The coast is rocky with small bays.

Skuinsklip (S 30° 39' 51.1"; E 17° 28' 01.6")

- 22.8km from Groen river gate. - 2 sites, each with a windbreak wall and braai area; Enviro loo, no ablutions. - A 4x4 is required to reach this camp. General: This camp is small with only two camping sites and two pretty beaches close by. The coast is mostly rocky.

Koringkorrel Baai (S 30° 39' 19.7"; E 17° 27' 49.7")

- 24km from Groen river gate. - 5 sites, each with a windbreak wall and braai area; 3 Enviro loos, no ablutions. - A 4x4 is required to reach this camp. General: This camp sits a rocky shore with a long, beautiful beach just to the north. The bay is well known for sightings of Heavisides’ dolphins.

Skuinsbaai Noord (S 30° 37' 13.9"; E 17° 26' 07.5")

- 28.7km from Groen river gate. - 2 sites, Enviro loo, no ablutions. - This camp can be reached with a 2x4 high ground clearance vehicle from Sarrisam. General: This camp has a single large site. The shore is rocky. There are numerous little bays in this area.

Boulder Baai (S 30° 31' 33.1"; E 17° 23' 44.1")

- 43km from Groen river gate. - 6 sites, each with a windbreak wall and braai area; 2 Enviro loos; no ablutions. - This camp can be reached with a 2x4 high ground clearance vehicle from Hondeklip Bay road gate. General: This camp is the only camp protected to some extend from the south westerly winds. The camp has large open areas and is particularly suited to groups. There is a long white beach just south of the camp.

Activities

Adventure and Outdoor

Activities

Caracal Eco Route

The route allows you to experience a wide range of Namaqua habitats, from mountains to coast. The route starts at the world famous Skilpad Wildflower Reserve– now part of the Namaqua National Park-, where the parks’ offices are situated. The road then descents down the Soebatsfontein pass, before turning north to the Wildeperdehoek grass plains. An interesting detour is possible to include the Wildeperdehoek pass. From here the road goes through the Namaqua flatlands. This area is renowned for its ‘Riethuis quartz’ and the dune areas, which has a dry fynbos type growing here. Crossing the main Hondeklip bay road you will enter the Namakwa Coastal section of the park, which consists of 50km spectacular coastline, before ending at Groen river mouth.

Please note that the Namaqua National park is still in a development phase. SANParks are in the process of various rehabilitation tasks, such as the removal of unwanted structures and fences. Some farmers still have a few years of farming left as part of sales agreements, and farm gates are to be closed at all times.

Route directions & description

There are numbered and un numbered ‘caracal’ signs to indicate the route. It is essential to obtain a booklet at the park for following the route. The booklet also contains grid reference points.

To get to Namaqua National park (Skilpad Office) take the N7 to Kamieskroon. Turn into Kamieskroon, then immediately left past the Hotel. Follow the gravel road (which passes underneath the N7) for 21km to the park.

Ecoroute Start: Skilpad Office, Namakwa National Park (S30˚09.489”; E017˚46.429”) Please obtain your permit and ecoroute booklet at the office.

How to get there

The topography is characterised by granite outcrops with large round or flat exposed rock separated by sandy alluvial valleys. It is situated some 495km from Cape Town off the N7 route to Namibia, and 67km from the town of Springbok in the north. The nearest town is Kamieskroon, which is some 22 km from the reserve and park offices.

Gate Hours:

At present the Park has only a limited road network available to sedan vehicles. No shop, restaurant or fuel is available in Namaqua National Park and guests must take along their own firewood.

GPS Coordinates

Entrance Gate Section Latitude Longitude

Groen River

Coastal section; 4WD vehicles only

S 30 ° 49' 44 "

E 17 ° 34' 34.16 "

Entrance Gate

Skilpad and Namaqua NP

S 30 ° 09' 58.30"

E 17 ° 47' 53.01"

Graphic Directions





Directions to Namaqua Flowers Beach Camp (Groen River)

GPS Co-ordinates to Groen River - S 30 49 43.9 - E 17 34 33.0

Vital Information

Climate

Namaqualand falls within the winter rainfall region of South Africa. The highest rainfall period is between June to August. Average winter temperatures vary between 7 degrees and 19 degrees Celsius, while summer temperatures vary between 20 degrees and 42 degrees Celsius.

Take Note

Wheelchair Access

With the park’s developmental status, no specific facilities for people with mobility impairment exist. However as the park develops, the needs of people with all forms of disability will be considered.

Contact Information

For enquiries e-mail Namaqua National Park or phone us on the following numbers:

History

The park was proclaimed on 29 June 2001 for the purpose of conserving the rich diversity of succulent plants.

NNP is in the process of development, having grown to its current size of 141,000ha (including the coastal contract area between the Groen and Spoeg rivers) in nine years, thus expanding the park to include more succulent habitats and an important coastal section.

The history of establishment

Year

Event

1988

WWF-SA purchases a section of the farm Skilpad and start managing it as a wildflower reserve.

1998

SANParks take over the management of the Skilpad Wildflower Reserve and surrounding farms that had been purchased.

1999

Official opening of the Namaqua National Park.

2000

Working for Water project begins. August 2000 official start of GEF project.

2001

Construction and refurbishments of infrastructure at the Skilpad Section of the Park begins.

2002

Official proclamation of the land that now formed the Namaqua National Park.

2002

GEF social ecology projects get under way.

2002

The first RARE Environmental Education Campaign in Africa begins in the Namaqua National Park.

2003

Land consolidation reaches 72 000ha

2004

Work begins on proposed corridor to coast

2005

Land acquisitions ongoing to consolidate corridor negotiations with De Beers Namaqualand Mines ongoing

2008

Contractual inclusion of the Groen-Spoeg River section as part of Namaqua National Park

The park has one access-controlled route; the main entrance gate at the Skilpad section. The use of this gate is normally restricted to between 06h00 and 18h00. The Groen-Spoeg River section can be entered at the Groenriver where a marine SANParks official is based.

Cultural History

The cultural history of Namaqualand stretches back hundreds of thousands of years. Hand axes, presumably made by humans Homo erectus, have been found in the Namaqua NP. The San (a hunter-gatherer people) inhabited the region for thousands of years, moving seasonally after game, edible plants and water. Evidence of hunter-gatherers and herders is dotted all over Namaqualand along the Gariep River, along the coast, in caves and on the rocky outcrops. The descendants of the herder people are still living in Namaqualand today, although having lost a great deal of their original culture and traditions. During colonial times, in the 1700’s, the Europeans moved in and settled as stock farmers. Technology became part of the Namaqualand cultural landscape in the form of copper and diamond mining.

General Information

Weather

The Namaqua NP falls within the winter rainfall region of South Africa. Rainfall is associated with cold fronts in winter and is not only predictable but more reliable than other arid regions. The biological uniqueness of the Succulent Karoo Biome can be attributed to the low but reliable rainfall patterns. The average annual rainfall measured over 15 years in the Skilpad section at 700 metres above sea level is 340mm. The average at Soebatsfontein just beyond the parks south-western boundary is 140mm per annum. The Namaqualand Coastal Duneveld has a mean precipitation of below 100mm annually.

Snow on the Kamiesberg is common with the last snow recorded in 2009.

Mist is frequent during autumn and winter and the associated moistening of the soil is thought to influence annual plant germination rates. The wind in winter is usually from the east, which can turn to a cold north-westerly with the approach of a frontal system. In summer the wind is predominantly from the south or east.

Geography

The bedrock within the Namaqua NP largely comprises Quartzo-feldspathic Gneiss of the Kookfontein subgroup within the Namaqualand Metamorphic Complex. Bedrock outcrops occur on koppies or mountains as smooth rock faces or large rounded boulders typical of the Namaqualand Hardeveld. Of further geological significance is the Soubattersfontein Quartzite that occurs as low laying ridges or koppies in the south and south-western sections of the park. Wolfhoek se Berg is the highest point above sea level in the park at 948m above sea level.

Sand movement corridors are a characteristic of the coastal plain landscape and form an integral part of the ecological dynamics of the vegetation and animals that inhabit this landscape. They are regarded as important medium to large scale ecological processes that need to be explicitly considered in conservation plans. Elsewhere in South Africa sand movement corridors have been truncated or destroyed by inappropriate coastal development and stabilization by alien plants. The Namaqualand coastal plain presents the only opportunity in South Africa to conserve these ecosystems. The park covers an altitudinal range from sea level (western boundary) to 948m on the eastern boundary. The topography is dominated by the low-lying Swartlintjies River valley in the west with its catchment in the mountains of the escarpment to the east. On the Skilpad section the Wolwepoort River drains to the northwest ultimately flowing into the Haasrivier, a tributary of the Buffelrivier. The Namaqualand coastal plain and the escarpment (Hardeveld) are both features of the area. The area between the Groen and Spoeg Rivers include a 60km stretch of coastal line and 30km inland of coastal plain sandy material of aeolian origin.

Vegetation

The Namaqualand region of South Africa falls within the Succulent Karoo biome, identified as one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots (one of three hotspots in South Africa), and is the focus of both international and national groups/organisations to conserve this globally unique living landscape i.e. the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Lesley Hill Succulant Karoo Trust, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Conservation International (CI) with initiatives such as the SKEP and Arid Eden Project.

Fifteen bioregions are represented within the boundaries of the Namaqua NP, namely: (i) Arid Estuarine Salt Marches, (ii) Kamiesberg Mountain Scrubland, (iii) Namaqualand Arid Grassland, (iv) Namaqualand Blomveld, (v) Namaqualand Coastal Duneveld, (vi) Namaqualand Heuweltjiesveld, (vii) Namaqualand Inland Duneveld, (viii) Namaqualand Klipkoppe Scrubland, (xi) Namaqualand Rivers, (x) Namaqualand Salt Pans, (xi) Namaqualand San Fynbos, (xii) Namaqualand Seashore Vegetation, (xiii) Namaqualand Strandveld, (xiv) Riethuis Wallekraal Quartz Vygieveld, and (xv) Oograbies Plains Sandy Grassland.

The Succulent Karoo has approximately 6,356 plant species, 40% (2,542) are endemic. Namaqualand alone has about 3000 species (1,500 are endemic) made up of 648 genera and 107 families. Seventeen percent are listed as Red Data species (International Union for Conservation of Nature 1994). When compared to regions with similar semi-arid environments the richness of this biome is exceptional. Namaqualand is further distinguished from other desert regions by the presence of the following families: Mesembryanthemaceae (vygies); Iridaceae (irids); Hyacinthaceae (lachenalias) and Crassulaceae (crassulas). There is a strong pattern of dominance by succulents and bulbs.

It is estimated that the Succulent Karoo bioregion has about 16% of the worlds approximately 10,000 succulent plant species. The high level of diversity is a result of a number of factors that include:

The Succulent Karoo has its own characteristic fauna with the dominant animals being invertebrates, specifically monkey beetles, scorpions, bee flies, bees and masarid and vespid wasps have concentrations of diversity and endemism in the Succulent Karoo Biome. There is a strong faunal relationship between the Succulent Karoo and the Fynbos and Desert biomes and it is considered a transitional region.

The floral richness of the Succulent Karoo is mirrored in its faunal diversity especially the invertebrates and reptiles although this is not the case with birds and mammals. This high species- richness has been attributed to events such as the folding of the Cape mountains and the subsequent isolation of specific habitats and the high levels of plant diversity. The high barriers between the Succulent and Nama Karoo biomes have limited faunal movements between the two even by the more mobile organisms.

Birds & Mammals

The movement of birds within the biome appears to be related to the availability of resources, both food and nesting material. Fluctuations in bird and mammal populations (especially rodents) are related to major rainfall events or changes in rainfall seasonality. Historically, mammal numbers would have fluctuated with resource availability and the activity of predators. The animals that historically occurred in the area and which are now locally extinct include elephant, black rhino, lion, cheetah, wild dog, eland, red hartebeest, gemsbok, springbok and Hartmann’s mountain zebra. Many of these species were probably not resident but would have moved through the area related to the availability of food and water resources. The largest predator in the park is the leopard (Panthera pardus). Existing populations of small mammals still occur within the present boundaries of the Namaqua NP. They include: common duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia), steenbok (Raphicerus camprestis), bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis), black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), caracal (Caracal caracal), baboon (Papio ursinus), klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus), Cape fox (Vulpes chama), aardvark (Crycteropus cafer) and African wildcat (Felis silvestris). Seventy-three mammal species occur within the Succulent Karoo with three endemic. Of these De Winton’s golden mole (Cryptochloris wintoni) and Van Zyl’s golden mole (Cryptochloris zyli) are insectivorous and the Namaqua dune molerat (Bathyergus janetta) is herbivorous.There are, however, five species known only from the dunes of the central Namaqualand coast. Some of these species are likely to occur in the corridor and coastal section of the park.

Springbok, Red Hartebeest and Gemsbok has been reintroduced by SANParks.

Park Maps

Directions


Skilpad Flower Route

Bamboeskamp Camsite Layout

Boulderbaai Campsite Layout

Delwerskamp Campsite Layout

Groen River Campsite Layout

Koringkorrel Campsite Layout

Kwass Campsite Layout

Skilpad Rest Camp Layout

Skuinsbaai Noord Campsite Layout

Skuinsklip Campsite Layout

Varswater Campsite Layout

Tariffs

Conservation Fees for 1 November 2013 to 31 October 2014

South African Citizens and Residents (with ID): R30 per adult, per day R15 per child, per day
SADC Nationals (with passport): R60 per adult, per day R30 per child, per day
Standard Conservation Fee (Foreign Visitors): R60 per adult, per day R30 per child, per day

Birding in Namaqua National Park

Birding in the park can still be explored more. Species to search for include Cinnamon-breasted Warbler, Cape Long-billed Lark, Karoo Lark, Black-headed Canary and Cape Bulbul. Black Harriers quarter the ground in search of rodents.

Vegetation

The park has been described as typical Namaqualand broken veld with a great variety of smaller succulents, such as Crassula spp., Adromischus spp., Pelargonium spp., stapeliands and Cotyledon spp., as well as annuals and bulbous plants.

It is also described as part of the succulent Karoo biome, dividing the area into the strandveld succulent Karoo, Upland Succulent Karoo, Lowland Succulent Karoo and North-western Mountain Renosterveld (Fynbos Biome). Also see Quartz Patches.

The Namaqualand broken veld merges east into the mountain renosterveld of the hills and mountains of the Kamiesberg Range, part of the fynbos biome. Four of the highest peaks exceed 1 500 m while Rooiberg (south), the highest land surface in Namaqualand, reaches 1 700 m. The Kamiesberg range consists of at least 22 endemic taxa.

Endemics (especially dwarf succulent shrubs) are clustered in broken, rocky habitats rather than sandy or loamy flats. Remaining endemics are likely to be geophyte members of the Iridaceae, Amarylliadaceae and Geraniaceae, also confined to winter rainfall areas. The hills and mountains of the Kamiesberg Range contains 201 endemic centre with 79 endemic species confined to this small area.

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