Sunday, August 24, 2008

In Search of Wild Gazanias - Success

Dear Friends and Family

In search of wild gazanias Floyd and I just spent five days in an area of South Africa called Namaqualand. Namaqualand can be found in the far northwest corner of South Africa bordering Namibia. It is the largest high mountainous desert in the world and each year in the spring 1400 varieties of flowers bloom. Because of the heavy rains here this year, the flowers started blooming in August and we were privileged to enjoy this wonderful spectacle.

We traveled the N7, north from Cape Town towards Namibia, and the farther north we went the more flowers we saw; purples, whites, yellows blended together. Then the colors changed. Our first day in the region we went into Namaqua National Park to an area called Skilpad, pronounced “skeel-pod”. Billions of orange flowers greeted us and tucked among them were termite mounds and other flowers of every hue.

This picture illustrates how the sheer mass of color changes across the landscape.

In the Namaqualand area there are three flowers zones. The flowers by the coast are different from those in the interior. Unfortunately the only way to see the ones by the coast is by 4X4 which we did not have, so next time.

The ones in the second zone include vygies and succulents. We were able to pay 20 rand to a local farmer and walk his field on what he called a succulent trail. There was an even more splendid array by the side of the road and in the local succulent nursery.

The third zone includes Skilpad and our favorite flower finding area, Goegap, which when pronounced starts with an H and then sounds like you are going to spit; the sound hop comes at the end. You have to think in German to get this one.

In the Goegap nature reserve, the flowers are magnificent. Purples, pinks, yellows, reds and oranges predominate. It is mountainous and craggy, with huge rocks perched on the hillsides and enormous valleys. The road into the mountain was sand based and much easier to drive than many of the other rocky dirt roads in the area.

We spent a great deal of time trying to get a “good” picture of a quiver tree, and this is a favorite.

When I look at these pictures now, it is interesting to note the light and dark differences. Part of that is due to the differences between Floyd’s and my cameras; the other because we went to Goegap on two days. One was brightly sunny without a cloud in the sky; the other rainy and cloudy. Nevertheless, the land was really beautiful both times.

But everything must end, including this note, so, as the sun sets on Geogap, bye for now.

Oh, I should tell you, we did find wild gazanias and they were beautiful.

We will be back in the States soon. Until we see you, love to all.


No comments: