Walking Update14: A Waterhole in the Semi-Desert

With pounding heart, racing breath and a dry throat I stumble from the treadmill after only ten minutes.

Ten minutes at a time, that is all I could manage this week,the result of months of inactivity! At least I made it to the treadmill three times during the week.

This said , I felt I deserved  a reward for perseverance and so I visited a waterhole in the semi- desert.

Goegap Nature Reserve lies 15km south-east of Springbok in Namaqualand and covers about 15000ha. The name Goegap is derived from the Nama word for waterhole.

goegap 2 Goegap

Goegap incorporates the Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden, which contains an  enormous collection of succulents endemic to the area. Five hundred and eighty one different indigenous  plants are found here. Some succulents are so rare they are found nowhere else  in the world.

Besides the unbelievable number of floral species, Goegap boasts forty five  mammalian  species including springbok, gemsbok, the endangered Hartman’s Zebra  and the  aardwolf.

Form the Goegap Nature Reserve, I went to the  Springbok a town which was named after the Springbok gazelle found in this region.

springbokThe town of Springbok is the largest in this area of the Northern Cape. It  lies in a narrow valley between the high granite domes of the  Klein Koperberge ( Small Copper Mountains ).The town’s origins date back to copper mining activities which has since dwindled and today the main income is generated from tourism, commerce and farming.

There are a variety of guest houses and  hotels in and around the town. The one place which caught my attention was Naries Namaqua Retreat, a beautiful hideaway on the edge of the Spektakelberg between Springbok and Kleinzee. Naries Retreat is well positioned for exploring the greater Namaqua Region from the Richtersveld in the north to the shipwrecks in the west.Naries Namaqua Retreat offers various types of accommodation,of which the beautiful old Manor House stole my heart.

nariesManor HouseJoin me again next Wednesday as I travel south towards Kamieskroon and Leliesfontein

Walking Update 13: Back to the Treadmill

Almost exactly one year ago on the 8th August 2012 I started a walking for exercise project  and called it Walking Wednesdays http://wp.me/p2BDQm-4S  2012/08/08.

In the meantime, life happened and I was forced to abandon the walking due to a foot problem. Now 6 months after my foot operation, I am able to resume my walking programme.

In my previous series of walking posts I explored the beautiful Eastern cape region from East London to Coffee Bay.

As it is August and time for the arid areas of the Cape West Coast and the semi desert of Namaqualand to be transformed into a floral wonderland, I chose this area for my next destination. These wild flowers are one of the natural wonders of the world and attract many tourists, artists and photographers from around the world each year.

flowers N

The flowers usually start flowering in late July or early August. The sun shines from the north in spring and as the flowers only open when the sun is shining, they usually face north. Therefore, it is best to approach the flowers from the north, starting at the small town of Springbok and the Goegap Nature Reserve.

flowers3

The flower season is dependent on the winter rains, the wind and other weather factors, and the displays vary from place to place each season.The towns along the route are small and one can usually get good information on the best places to view the flowers from the friendly locals.

map N

So I invite you to join me each Wednesday as I report on another town along this route from Springbok in the north to Clan William in the south .