When people travel to South Africa, most will go out of their way to Kruger National Park to see some of the game animals in their native homes instead of zoos. However, we strongly suggest you also see more of South Africa’s gorgeous landscapes beyond the safari parks. Approximately six hours north of Cape Town, Namaqua National Park is a lesser-known paradise where you can see stunning nature and a wealth of wildlife. Here are our top reasons to visit Namaqua National Park in South Africa.
It’s famous for its wildflowers
The most obvious reason to visit is the impressively large amount of wildflowers that dominates the land between July and October. Over 4,000 species of flowers bloom across the landscape, mostly in orange and yellow hues, giving visitors a spectacular view of wildly-grown flowers with mountains in the backdrop. Visitors will plan their trips accordingly to catch peak season for photo opportunities and to witness a natural marvel.
Look harder, you’ll start to see things you’ve never notice before
Namaqua National Park is full of surprising finds that seem to camouflaged. For example, this desert chameleon can be found everywhere, but are easily missed, thanks to their ability to blend themselves into the background of most settings. The park is a perfect way to open your eyes a little bit more and soon, you’ll have a newfound sense of sight when you start to notice life hidden right in front of you.
Look for the smallest tortoise in the world
When exploring the park, keep your eyes peeled (and watch your steps) for a speckled padloper, the world’s smallest tortoise. The tortoises are so small that they can be lifted with just two fingers and weigh only 95 to 160 ounces. They are endemic to the area so you won’t find these tiny creatures anywhere else in the wild. Visitors are more likely to spot them if they explore the area in the mornings instead of afternoons and evenings.
Head to the ocean and you’ll find hundreds of seals
Part of the area is adjacent to the ocean so you’ll find scores of seals noisily lounging under the sun on bedrocks. The Cape Fur Seals are incredible to watch, but keep your wits about you and maintain your distance. They are, after all, wild animals that can bite. Other than that, you’re in for a real treat and amusement as you watch the colony continue with its everyday routines.
There’s free roaming ostriches
In the midst of the wildflower field, it’s not unusual to spot these over-sized birds galloping through. Ostriches roam freely on the land and tourists often will see them in pairs. Like the seals, it’s wise to keep your distance and admire them from afar. They may be big but they are easily spooked by the presence of humans.
Antelopes are everywhere
Ostriches aren’t the only ones wandering through the fields, you’ll find a wide range of antelopes that make the park its year-round home. You’ll find antelope species like springbok, gemsbok, steenbok, eland, stable antelope, hartebeest (pictured) and more.
This is succulent land
In addition to wildflowers, you’ll also find succulents of all sizes and shapes here at Namaqua National Park. Succulents are rising in popularity as house plants since they need very little care and maintenance. Many visitors enjoy seeing succulents in their natural setting and are amazed to find a variety of odd-looking plants throughout the region.
You’ll find the most wonderful and strange looking insects
You won’t be creeped out by these bugs. The park is full of colorful and fascinating insects that you’ll want to step closer to inspect. Thousands of species of insects can be found throughout the land and visitors are advised to look harder on the ground and on leaves to catch some of the most striking bugs. Visitors love to go on a hunt to collect as many photos of these wonderfully-looking bugs.
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