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Namaqualand - Fields of Gold

I only have time for a quick update. I promise to upload more details when we return. We are doing outstandingly well. Everything is going as planned or better. No close calls except for one that I will describe later.

We are currently in Springbok and we have spent a wonderful day chasing the flowers. Okay, let's catch up - We left off after our arrival in Cape Town. We spent Sunday touring Kirstenbosch, one of the best botanical gardens in the Southern hemisphere. The gardens are on the slope of Table Mountain and the path takes you up through wonderful growths of proteas. There is also a wonderful succulent conservatory.

Monday, we picked up our car and hit the road. It is still hard for me to get used to driving on the left. "Now... where is that rear view mirror anyway?" We drove to Clanwilliam which is about 3 hours north of Cape Town. Here we saw a wonderful flower show staged in their old Dutch Reform church. Flowers (proteas, bulbs, succulents) had been gathered from the surrounding farms for display.

Then we were off for our luxury stay at Bushmans Kloof 35k away. We could definitely get used to this! We spent two nights being pampered and taken on flower/game safari drives. They are in the Cedarburg area which has a wealth of flowers. Also on the property are herds of hoofed animals such as Ostrich, Springbok, Bontebok, Gnu, other antelopes and Cape Zebras. We saw many babies since it is Spring. We also got to see ancient rock art painted by the San people over 2000 years ago. The food and service were wonderful as was our guide, James, who is also a botanical enthusiast.

But we did have our one close encounter here. We took a trail on our own one afternoon to explore some of the area. It was well marked but we were meandering along to check out the plants. Before we knew, it was almost time to be back for our afternoon sundowner drive. We rushed back and came quickly around a corner - face to face with a black spitting cobra! We surprised him and he reared up to strike displaying his hood. I was so shocked I could not get a picture before he backed down and slithered away. He was shiny jet black and over 6 feet long. Damn! I wish I had gotten his picture. What a way to celebrate our anniversay.

Soon it was time to leave the Kloof and we headed north to Springbok. The land became less and less inhabited and the terrain changed dramatically to desert.

Shortly before Springbok, we saw our first field of brillantly orange daisies. Acres and acres of Gazanias in the wild. Yipee! We weren't too late for the flowers.

Springbok is a small town with mining as one of the main industries. It feels very similar to Arizona with large red stacks of rocks called koppies that suround the town. Our B&B is very nice and overlooks the town.

Yesterday we drove to Nababeep. The tourist bureau recommended it and it was great. We came over the hill and gold covered the hillsides and lined the road. We wandered for hours and George even found a wild salvia in bloom. Next we headed to Goegap Nature Preserve. Here we saw fields of magenta succulents accented by large Aloe trees called Quiver Trees amid red rock koppies.

We did find the sun hot and intense. The temperatures are only in the mid- 70's but it is so dry.

We caught a bit of the news today. We don't have CNN here in Springbok but we do get the three South African stations, SABC 1, 2 and 3. The news is broadcast at different times in the different languages; English, Afrikaan and Xhosa. We did catch the morning English broadcast and saw the protests over the rescue efforts in New Orleans. They showed the Mexican humanitarian troops crossing the border in Texas and the Move On protesters. The world is watching.

Today we head for Skilpad and more fields of gold. These are considered the best in Namaqualand. We can't wait. TaTa for now.

Comments (2)

Hi Marta! It is so exciting to read your posts from half a world away! A cobra - I would have been terrified!

Trekcapri [TypeKey Profile Page]:

A Black Spitting Cobra! Wow! It all sounds so great to be seeing all the things that you are describing. Look forward to your next entry.

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