Sunday, August 2, 2009

Springbok - Part 1

This will be part one of three or four or five, I haven’t decided yet. The overall series covers our late July trip north into Namaqualand for the late winter flower season. We did a similar journal last year and may accidently repeat some of the photos – but they are beautiful and bear repeating.

Part one will cover our trip to the lodge and our accommodations. Part two will cover the trip into Namaqua National Park. Part three will get heavily into plants and flowers. Part four, should that be necessary, will cover some of the critters seen. Part five will cover our trip to the coast and the DeBeers diamond mines.

It’s a 500km, 5.5 hour trip from Cape Town to Springbok. That’s if you don’t stop to take pictures. So it takes us a bit longer. The flower season varies depending on the weather and latitude. We were quite early in the season this year and the locals told us that the displays were “not so good.” You be the judge.

Most of the flowers are in the daisy family. There are a number of species on display and I won’t bore you with their names. Marshal sells some of them at Village Flower & Garden in Lisle (unpaid ad).

We stayed at this B&B in Springbok. Betsy is unpacking while I’m working the camera. Daisy was not new for us – we were there in 2008 as well. Nice digs, good people, nice landscaping.

Our “room” for this stay was the honeymoon cottage – fireplace, air conditioning, private patio, private braaii area, king-size bed – the works.

We were entertained by the resident showboat. We were much more impressed than the peahens. He did his best. Reminded me of my childhood and my grandfather’s collection of peafowl. Good memories.

There were also flocks of geese, guinea fowl and sacred ibis.

The Daisy Lodge is also in close proximity to the Geogap Nature Reserve. Geogap boasts beautiful sweeps of early spring flowers (we were too early), animals (another journal), one nice three-bedroom cabin (we’ll book into there sometime), an excellent stand of quiver trees (a variety of aloe), and a garden surrounding the visitors’ center containing some unusual specimens.

This guy, for instance, is about an inch tall.

And this friendly fellow.

There were flowers blooming in Geogap, just not the daisy varieties the area is most known for. This orchid-looking bloom appears a bit like our own toad lily (Tricyrtis).

I was intrigued by the appearance of this spring bulb (I think). It almost appears to be a candlestick in shape. I can theorize that the bulge is a food storage vehicle, but it’s only my theory.

That’s all for now. More of nature’s wonders on the next installment.


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