14 October, 2009

Namaqua National Park


Pam at Digging has invited us to share our National Parks. This park was created to showcase the spring display in Namaqualand in the Northern Cape. Once it was a farm called Skilpad se Graafwater (=the tortoise’s digging place for water). With the low rainfall, farming is challenging here. Tourism for wild flowers is another way of earning a living, while still protecting the environment. There are some very short-sighted politicians who chant – if it pays it stays!?



The spectacular displays of sheets of colour from annuals, tend to be on abandoned wheat fields. There the seeds have the opportunity to flaunt themselves in gay abandon, with no competition or shade from shrubs. Not too many trees here, except along streams or in shaded kloofs (=valleys).
These daisies live a very gracious life in their short season. We rise at 10, and retire at 3 in the afternoon. If it is cool, or breezy, we stay in bed, and wait, for a better day tomorrow. We turn our faces to the sun, so it is up to you to plan your route so you see their faces, not their backs. Plan a leisurely journey. Make time to get out and walk, where you are allowed to. Please keep to the paths – they have such a short, vulnerable season, and your galumphing great boots will kill them. (The same mentality that likes to smash Thanksgiving pumpkins, needs to walk and lie on fields of flowers!!!)

This is the Ungardener's picture of the only wildlife I can't abide - locusts
Don’t despair if the weather is cool and overcast. It is only on foot that you will see rarer plants – bulbs and shrubs, which on a fine day are totally obliterated by the over the top extravaganza of unbroken sheets of orange daisies.
Tomorrow bloggers are showing that we want to be part of solution to global warming and climate change. Namaqualand with its Succulent Karoo vegetation, is the only arid biodiversity hotspot in the world. Now the 350 mm of rain a year (and the sea fog rolling in) can just, carefully, be stretched to support plants, wildlife, people and farming. Once, there were elephants migrating through here …
A little hotter, and we will lose the plants and the animals to full on desert. The people will have to leave the land, and go to the cities. And there what will we all eat – Soylent green anyone?

There are so many special plants to choose from. So many pictures. In this collage you can see a gladiolus with the most subtle gentle colouring. A Gazania (still in its pyjamas) in its natal home. The heart of a beetle daisy. And a plant I keep trying to grow. Have one in the garden now, looking sad and lonely, but we will keep trying. It is called Lobostemon, no prizes for noticing it is part of the borage family.

There is accommodation in the park. Best we have ever had. Each one stands away from the handful of neighbours. Just you, and the view, all the way, across rolling hills, down to the sea. The very best bit is an enclosed veranda, two comfortable chairs, dining table, concertina windows which open completely, or close to block the wind. We loved it there and will go again. (If you want to stay over, you need to book at least a year ahead for the spring flower season. Here Namaqua or in the hotels and B & Bs in the surrounding Namaqua towns)

And this is the only time we have ever seen a sunset with a barley sugar twist in the tail!

16 comments:

  1. It looks great! And that view!!! It's nice to a part of your world that I've never would have seen if it wasn't for the blogs / gittan

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  2. What stunning views... I love your first shot with the orange daisies flowing endlessly in the landscape. The pay and stay mentality is universal ... we all must be vigilant with our politicians. Even your shot of the locust is beautiful... as is the view as you look out from your retreat. Lovely to see your world! May it always be protected! Carol

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  3. That top image is just beautiful, EE. I wonder, your climate and topography seem somewhat like the rolling, arid Hill Country of central Texas, which also has a famous spring wildflower display.

    Thanks so much for participating in the bloggers' celebration of national parks. Did you get my message on Blotanical about how to leave your link on my post?

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  4. Oh that sunset, but really oh to the whole scene! What a fabulous place, thank goodness it is a moneymaker and can therefore be protected. Sounds like there are plenty willing to pay too, if the lodgings are booked that far in advance, a good thing to protect the plants.
    Frances

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  5. I love the beautiful fields of wildflowers. To be honest, those locusts look a little scary. I can see why you do not like them.

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  6. Pam, would central Texas have a Mediterranean climate with winter rain?

    Thank you all for your comments. I love the interaction, and seeing my landscape thru your eyes.

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  7. All beautiful- except the locusts... and I thought Japanese Beetles were ugly.

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  8. I understand why you don't like locusts - but your photo makes them look like a pile of jewels. It was only because of the caption that I stopped thinking they were a form of art-work.

    Esther

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  9. Oh Esther, I'll try to bear your comment in mind next time I yell for the Ungardener to rescue me from another LOCUST!

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  10. What wonderful place! I would never see it without this post. Thank you!

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  11. I don't think I have ever visited your blog. I'm glad I did. Great photos and I love the wildflowers! :)

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  12. EE, yes, central Texas has a Mediterranean climate: dry, hot summers and cool, wet winters. Which explains why some South African plants grow well here, I guess.

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  13. The views are truly amazing there! I love how the blooms kind of just take over!

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  14. Tatyana, Amy, Heather - the delights of travelling in our Blotanical world! You walk these paths, with care, trying not to step on little gems.

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  15. Amazing! Thanks for sharing. Never even heard about this park (well, one rarely thinks past one's own continent...)

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  16. Town Mouse - Have to admit there are a lot of North American Parks, that I have never heard of, in turn.

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