NAMAQUA NATIONAL PARK.
Namaqua National Park is a South African national park situated approximately 495 km north of Cape Town and 22 km northwest of Kamieskroon. It has an area of more than 1300 km2The park is part of Namaqualand, an area covering 55,000 km2 located within the semi-desert Succulent Karoo biome. This biome is a biodiversity hotspot with the largest concentration of succulent plants in the world. The park also has an arid environment with succulent plants. The park was created to protect its flowers. During the spring, wildflowers bloom there in a spectacular fashion. The park’s main tourist attraction is this abundant spring bloom of brightly colored wildflowers.
GEORGRAPHY AND CLIMATE.
Namaqua National Park is located in Northern Cape Province, near South Africa’s border with Namibia. The park is located approximately 495 km north of Cape Town and 22 km northwest of Kamieskroon. It was officially gazetted in August 1999. Skilpad Nature Reserve, formed in 1993 to protect Namaqualand’s plant life, formed the nucleus of the new national park with the addition of 500 km2 of land to create the park. 270 km2 has since been added to the park, and it now has an area of more than 700 km2. The park is semi-desert, with hot and dry summers and cold winters with variable, generally sparse rainfall. Most precipitation occurs between May and August. The eastern part of the park receives more rainfall than the west.
The park is located in Namaqualand, which lies within the Succulent Karoo. Namaqualand has an area covering 55,000 hectares, located in the northwest corner of Northern Cape Province
During most of the year, very little flora except hardy shrubs can be seen in Namaqualand’s arid landscape. However, in August and September, after the winter’s rains, wildflowers bloom in a spectacular fashion over hundreds of square kilometres. These many-colored flowers include daisies, lilies, aloes, and perennial herbs. Namaqualand is famous throughout the world for the spectacular sight of its many coloured wildflowers during the spring. About 4,000 plant species grow in this area. and Namaqualand has more than 1,000 types of flowers that do not grow anywhere else in the world. It has many species of succulent plants, for example vygies which have attractive blooms. The plump leaves of many types of succulents retain moisture, and many of them grow low to the ground and have a stone-like appearance. Some species of trees here can store water in the dry environment, such as the quiver tree’s fat trunk. The flowers’ blooms are dependent on the amount of rainfall that the area receives. The flowers are sensitive to sunlight and many will only open when there is bright sunshine. The flowers face the sun, and they generally open completely from about 10 am to 4 pm. Hot winds can cause the blooms to quickly shrivel.
The speckled padloper, the smallest tortoise in the word, can be found in the park.
Many insect species are attracted to the flowers.
By 2017, arachnids from 21 families have been sampled in the park, which included 60 species of spiders. Hottentotta arenaceus, is a pale orange- yellow scorpion which occurs in the parks coastal section.
Diaphorocellus biplagiatus and Asemesthes affinis occur, the latter species only found again in Angola Xysticus Cibratratus has been recorded, though it has an extensive global range.
An estimated 100,000 tourists visit Namaqualand every year. 65% of these visitors are South African and 35% are from other countries. The government has identified tourism as a means to improve the region’s economy, and tourism in this area has been promoted through marketing. However, the region’s residents continue to have very low incomes and there is a high unemployment rate.
Namaqua National Park has the ecological tourist attractions of the wider Namaqualand region. The bloom of spring flowers in disused wheat fields is the park’s main tourist attraction. Tourist facilities include a 5 km long scenic route, two nature walks, places to picnic, and an information centre for visitors. The park has not yet been fully developed and the Skilpad area of the park can only be visited by tourists during the flower season in the spring. Most of the wildflower species are protected under law, with the possibility of fines for those who pick them. There are now 4 chalets available for overnight accommodation, 1 of which is accessible to disabled persons. Accommodation is for 2 adults with provision for 1 adult or 2 children on a sleep couch. These are very well equipped and all have an awesome view from the stoep area. There is 220 V electricity but guests will need to bring all their own provisions, as the nearest basic shop is 22 km distant.
ACCOMMODATION. OF THIS NATIONAL PARK
Skill pad rest Camp
This rest camps include, four chalets within, each room with two single beds, sleepers, open plan living room, a dining area, enclosed veranda, indoor fireplace, outside braai, ceiling fans, fully equipped Kitchen, crockery. Cutely, cooking utensils, glassware, 4-plate stove, microwave, freezer combo, kettle toaster.
Some of the activities include, season flower viewing, caracal 4×4 wheel self-drives, mountain hiking, and bike hiking.
LUIPERDSKLOOF GUEST COTTAGE
This exclusive unit is accessible with 4×4 vehicles only. There are three bedrooms, one bedroom with a double bed and two bedrooms with two 3/4 beds each.
one bathroom, shower and washbasin.
Toilet, lounge, fireplace, braai area, fully equipped Kitchen, Guests must provide their own firewood.
This cottages activities include, Flower Season, Caracal 4×4 Eco Route, Mountain Biking, Walking Trails, Birding, Picnic Sites.
the 1.5%. to 2% and doing so, conserve quiver tree forests and other threatened species in the region.
The main objective of this National Park include is to study a large scale management of the area and the impact of climate change on the local ecosystem
After declaring the park, a number of steps were taken to rehabilitate the land, including the removal of livestock, fences and copses of alien mesquite, this saw an increase in wildlife numbers. The park has a high population of quiver trees.