Get closer to nature
Situated in the Northern Cape, about 500km from Cape Town, the Namaqua National Park includes the area famously known as Skilpad (previously know as the Skilpad Flower Reserve) and a magnificent coastal belt. The area is remote, diverse and hardy and equally spectacular throughout the year. Local and foreign visitors flock to the park during the months of August and September to witness this arid area erupt in a kaleidoscope of colours. A Floral Kingdom of note and a very important tourist attraction, the show of flowers from the Western Cape to the Northern Cape is different every year largely due to the amount of rainfall between May and June. 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.
Our dream to explore some of South Africa’s most wondrous national parks saw us traveling along the spectacular coastline of the Namaqua National Park in 2011. Our hearts settled on a particularly beautiful location called Koringkorrelbaai, just one of many dotted along this stretch of coastline. A year later we moved to Groenriviermond to allow all our guests’ far easier access to our canvas flower village. After a few years, we explored the flowers inland and created another beautiful village in Skilpad.
A land of extreme contrasts you will find a variety of succulents, low shrubland, unique plant species, such as the elephant’s foot (halfmens), and tree aloe (kokerboom). The Namaqua National Park is home to leopard, cheetah, aardwolf, small cat species, steenbok, duiker and mongoose, as well as tortoise, lizards, scorpions, bee flies and monkey beetles. It is also home to the Brant’s whistling rat, which is responsible for the burrow systems in sandy areas that provide ideal conditions for seed germination.
Nature walks, drives along floral-lined dusty roads, 4×4 tracks along the coastland and along the Eco Route in the northern section of the park, picnic spots, and so much more, can be experienced in an area covering about 55,000 km2.
Namaqua Flower Beach Camp
If you are heading north the Groenriviermond turnoff is just past the small town on Bitterfontein on the N7. If you miss it and find yourself in Garies don’t be too alarmed as you can make your way down the main road of Garies to another turnoff on your right. As this is such a remote area, guests are best advised to fill up with fuel in either of these two towns. The drive is along a dusty dirt road and accessible in a standard sedan vehicle with good road clearance. The camp is established in a remote and scenically stunning location, one kilometre north of the Groenrivier entrance to the National Park
What to do at Beach Camp?
- Picnics – Head off to explore the beauty of the coast with a picnic basket packed for two. The area is very remote so this is the perfect companion for the drive.
- Explore – Visit the Lighthouse, Spoegrivier Caves, the Seal Colony and watch the meerkats get up to mischief. 4×4 vehicles only.
- Read and chat…or have another snooze
- Head off on your mountain bike for the day, pack a picnic basket, your hat and a camera and breathe in the peace.
There are hardly enough words to descibe the hospitality, scenery, food, nature and friendliness. Thanks to all for an unforgettable stay!
Namaqua Flower Skilpad Camp
The camp is easily located via the Kammieskroon turnoff from the N7 and is also accessible in a standard sedan vehicle. Also remotely located guests can fill up with fuel in Kammiskroon. Factor in some extra traveling time so that you can stop often and walk about…this is the best way to see the flowers – up close and personal.
What to do in Skilpad
- Daisy tripping through the flowers: Head off on your bike for the day, pack a picnic basket, your hat and a camera and breathe in the peace and quiet as you meander at a snail’s pace across fields of colour.
- Flowers by Day and Stars by Night – after a day spent in the glory of the flowers it doesn’t end there. After a delicious dinner in the restaurant, relax in the lounge with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and drink in the canopy of stars above. A telescope will give you a view of the world far beyond our own.
- Daily walks – park your car and venture beyond on foot, choose any number of paths, you can’t get lost, and it remains the best way to see the flowers up close and personal.
- Other – picnic, paint, hum, read, ponder and explore.
- Alternatively just do absolutely nothing!
Accommodation and meals
The fully-catered Namaqua Flower Beach Camp and Namaqua Flower Skilpad Camp run annually during the flower season and each camp has its own personality partly due to the areas they are located in. Guests often navigate from one to the other and 2018 is the first year that both camps will offer exactly the same services. Every canvas bedroom includes beds, duvets and linen, bed throws, electric blankets, extra blankets, chairs, electricity, towels, private showers, dressing rooms and chemical loos. There is an elegant communal lounge area with comfy chairs, cushions, knee blankets, gas heaters and reading material. A bar and communal dining area serve some up of the finest South African wines and delicious food, while tea and coffee are served to your tent every morning. Wholesome and filling deli picnic baskets are also available for a lunch while out exploring the many back roads. Be sure to arrive at camp before High Tea – a wonderful first experience in camp.
The Flower Camps remain a firm highlight in the Chief’s calendar and one we as a team look forward to every year. We have witnessed strangers become firm friends, many exchanges, engagement, birthday celebrations and annual family sojourns. We have learned to appreciate every marvel nature shares with us – in a good flower season and in drought. We have become far more aware, and appreciative of this jewel in the Northern Cape and we hope that you will soon join us to experience it too.
For more information or to make a booking please visit www.flowercamps.co.za