The Goegap Nature Reserve is about 15km south-east of Springbok and consists of typical Namaqualand vegetation and incorporates the Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden. The reserve is transformed into a mosaic of multicoloured wild flowers for a few weeks each year after the rains. The semi-desert reserve is noted for indigenous flora and fauna, particularly succulents, some species of which are found nowhere else in the world.
The numerous mammal species found here include springbok, gemsbok, mountain zebra and a variety of small mammals, while 94 bird species have been recorded.
The Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden comprises an exhibition of Namaqualand succulents and a rock garden. There are horse trails, three hiking trails, two mountain bike trails and a variety of 4X4 routes through the reserve. Facilities include an information centre and picnic sites but no overnight accommodation is provided.
|Ai-|Ais / Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park
In a seemingly barren wilderness of vast inhospitable rock and sand terrain, find one of nature’s secret wonders in the solemn magnitude of this desolate, daunting and awsome landscape sculpted by millions of years’ exposure to the elements.
Paradoxically, this harsh “rock desert” provides a home to a rich assortment of succulents, some 185 bird species, fresh water fish e.g. yellowfish, the Orange River Mud Fish and the sharptooth catfish. In an attempt to preserve the delicate ecosystem of this unique land, angling is permitted subject to the acquisition of permits.
Wild animals roam the plains of this hostile environment and include springbok, klipspringer, grey rheebok and steenbok. Baboon and a small population of Hartmanns’s Mountain Zebra (a protected species) are also inhabitants of this fascinating desert.
Endemic to the Richtersveld and south-west Namibia is the Halfmens also known as the Noordpool (Northpole), as the strange rosette of deciduous leaves at the crown of this extraordinary plant always faces north. Hottentot legend relates that when their ancestors were driven southwards by warlike tribes from the north, some turned back to look longingly across the Orange River and were turned into the "halfmens", eternally gazing northwards. This legend came about because the Halfmens usually face north. This stem succulent is found in clustered growth areas throughout the Richtersveld and reaches an approximate 2 to 3m in height.
Peppering the vast desert landscape are Quiver trees, from which the San people made their arrows. These trees are drought resistant and able to store water for years
Accessable by 4x4 vehicles only, the Richtersveld is definitely not for the timid. Be prepared for some of the most incredible scenery as you paddle down the Orange River and get closer to the wonders and beauty created by nature in God’s own country of the Richtersveld.
The Skilpad Wild Flower Reserve is renowned as one of the prime locations for the annual spring flower displays in Namaqualand from August to October. The 1000-ha reserve lies to the west of Kamieskroon and has a somewhat higher precipitation factor than the surrounding areas due to its proximity to the coast. The mountainous Kamiesberg area east of Kamieskroon is superb for mountain biking.
PLACES OF INTEREST
DISTANCE SPRINGBOK TO CONCORDIA: 17 kms (16 mins)
Originally a Rhenish mission station formed in 1852. Copper was mined there from 1853 until 1933. The Boers used Concordia as their headquarters during the Anglo-Boer War. There are still some original Cornish style houses which remail in addition to the old granery which was used as a hospital by the Boer commandos.
Granite Ore Bins -
At the old Tweefontein Mine are good examples of Cornish stone masonry. The New Prospect Mine is another granite ore bin/shute that is in excellent condition.
Graveyard - Graves of early Rhenish missionary pioneers and unmarked graves of fallen boers from the four week siege of Okiep in 1902.
Orbicule Hill - This national monument lies west of Concordia. It exhibits the best example of orbicular diorite in the country. This rare rock texture is the result of granitoid magmas separating while in a fluid state which forms concentric internal banding.
DISTANCE SPRINGBOK TO GARIES: 110 kms (1 hr 10 mins)
The village of Garies consists of one long street with a church, a cluster of houses and shops that are built on the banks of the stream Garies. The Nama people named this area Th’aries after the couch grass that grew along the banks of the stream and this was later changed to Garies.
Letterklip (letter stone) - comprises several enormous, megalithic boulders carrying the names of early Namaqualand travellers.
Rooiberg Hiking Trail
Annual Spring Flowers
DISTANCE SPRINGBOK TO HONDEKLIP BAY: 104 kms (1 hr)
This seaside village offers an excellent fishing destination. During crayfish season a permit obtained in Springbok or Garies will allow you to dive for this wonderful delicacy which Hondeklip Bay is famous for.
Copper Ore transported by ox wagon was originally shipped from the harbour at Hondeklip Bay until new facilities became available at Port Nolloth. The harbour now serves fishing and diamond-mining boats.
Seasonal Namaqualand Wild Flowers Aristea Shipwreck which ran aground in 1945
DISTANCE SPRINGBOK TO KAMIESKROON: 69 kms (40 mins)
A small village set amongst enormous granite mountains known as the Kamiesberg, Kamieskroon was originally a descendant of a former town, Bowesdorp.
The former settlement founded in 1864 as Namaqualand’s first church centre was named after Dr Henry Bowe, the local district surgeon at the time. Due to the narrow confines of the valley, the town was demolished in 1924 and re-established in its present position.
It was renamed Kamieskroon after the Nama name Th’amies meaning “jumble” and Kroon meaning “crown”. The “crown” referring to the tip of the Kamieskroon Mountain, a prominent peak with an enormous cleft on the apex.
Kamieskroon is world renowned for its annual spring flower spectacular when Mother Nature puts on the finest show of wild flowers in this otherwise dry, rugged and arid region.
Kharkams - for wild flowers in season Leliefontein - mission station
Lt DJ Darter’s Grave
KLEINZEE / KOINGNAAS
DISTANCE SPRINGBOK TO KLEINZEE/KOINGNAAS: 100 kms (1 hour 23 mins)
Situated on the Diamond Coast at the mouth of the Buffels River, Kleinzee is one of the sites where diamonds were first discovered in this region in 1925. Today the mining towns of Kleinzee and Koingnaas are restricted to permit holders only. Permits to visit can be arranged and obtained 5 days in advance.
Informative packages are offered to those that wish to visit this area including routes through the pristine sandveld and isolated stretches of beach.
4x4 and Mine Tours
Kleinzee Nature Reserve
Buffels River Estuary
The mission station of Leliefontein, established by the Reverend Barnabas Shaw in 1816, and the oldest village in Namaqualand, lies thirty kilometres east of Kamieskroon. There is a sundial in the village which was presented to the Reverend Shaw in 1828. At nearby Nourivier there is the finest example of traditional reed huts (matjieshuise) in Namaqualand.
DISTANCE SPRINGBOK TO STEINKOPF: 50 kms (30 mins)
Travelling further north towards Namibia, quiver trees dot the increasingly rocky landscape. At Steinkopf, 49km north of Springbok, one enters the northernmost wild flower area of Namaqualand. The district is noted for the number of matjieshuise, traditional dome-shaped reed huts made by the Nama people. There is also a date plantation in the area which is worth a visit. ATTRACTIONS:
Annenous Station and Nonahams - the historic steam train station used for the transport of copper. Nonahams, the watering point where the original fountain and dam still exist.
Immanuel Succulent Nursery
Kinderlê - sacred mass grave of 32 Nama children massacred while the Nama elders were attending church.
Kookfontein Eye - the spring situated in the hill above Steinkopf still flows.The spring, still flowing after many years, is in the hill above Steinkopf.
Rhenish Mission Church
Steinkopf Art Gallery
DISTANCE SPRINGBOK TO NABABEEP: 46 kms (54 mins)
North of Springbok, Nababeep’s name combines two Nama words, naba, meaning ‘hump of an animal’ and bib, meaning ‘small spring’. Mining began in the 1850s and, from 1876, ore was taken to Port Nolloth by train, for export. The mine closed during the copper slump of 1919, but reopened in 1937. It is home to the Okiep Copper Company and the region’s largest copper-mining town. ATTRACTIONS:
Mining Museum - Clara, a narrow-gauge steam locomotive used to rail copper ore to Port Nolloth, is on display.
DISTANCE SPRINGBOK TO OKIEP: 8 kms (5 mins)
Okiep lies 8 kms from Springbok and until mining ceased in 1918 was known to have the richest copper deposits in the world. Okiep is also the oldest mining town in South Africa.
An artefact from the early boom years is the Cornish Beam Pump (now a national monument) which was built in 1882 to pump water from the mine. Adjacent is the Smoke Stack erected by the Cape Copper Mining Company for the boilers that supplied steam for the Cornish Beam Pump. Immediately to the north in the cemetery lie the graves dating from the Anglo-Boer war. Situated on a hillock just outside Okiep are the stone remnants of Fort Shelton which was the main fortification of the Home Guard throughout the siege of Okiep in May 1902.
Crows Nest Blockhouse and several relics from the Anglo-Boer war
Cornish Pump House
DISTANCE SPRINGBOK TO PORT NOLLOTH: 140 kms (1 hr 44 mins)
Port Nolloth, a centre for both the crayfish industry and alluvial diamond mining. Port Nolloth is the only holiday resort on the Diamond Coast. The town's main tourist attractions are clean beaches and excellent fishing.
Crayfish is served at local establishments and fresh crayfish can be bought from the factory in season. The Diamond Coast of Namaqualand consists of the De Beers diggings at Kleinzee on the coast south of Port Nolloth and the State-owned diggings on the strip of coastline (protected by barbed wire) which extends from Port Nolloth northwards to Alexander Bay. The mine at Alexandria Bay offers tours on Thursdays. Booking is essential and should be arranged 24 hours in advance. This is a high security area therefore access to Alexander Bay is limited to permit-holders. ATTRACTIONS: