When you are visiting an area with such gorgeous scenery as the Northern Cape, one of the best activities to do is have a picnic. It might seem like a simple thing to do but in a place such as the Namaqualand National Park, a picnic while surrounded by the magnificent daisies can seem utterly magical. Below are some of the top picnic spots in the Northern Cape to explore while snacking on your favourite picnic snacks.
The Hantam National Botanical Garden can be found in Nieuwoudtville, a small town just off the R27. This botanical garden is known as the ‘bulb capital of the world’, being home to one of the largest collections of indigenous bulbous plants.
There are picnic spots to be found on the lawn outside the office building, and guided tours of the garden’s stunning natural landscape. There are also exciting hiking trails available, perfect for walking off those picnic lunches. This garden has a second flower season in Autumn, when the ground is carpeted in vibrant pink blooms thanks to the Brunsvigiabosmaniae flower species. It is ideal for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The mountain views of the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve are unrivalled, and makes for a treat of a picnic site. Here you will find stunning hiking trails of every difficulty, and you will find rivers, gorges and plateaus to picnic on while resting after your hike.
The reserve is home to gorges that were the site of a battle between local farmers and indigenous Khoi people, hence the name ‘War Gorge’. You will find a stunning array of flora to explore if you are botanically inclined, and the hikes are at once challenging and exhilarating. If you are going in warmer weather, be sure to pack sunscreen and hats for everyone to wear to protect themselves from the harsh sun.
The Goegap Nature Reserve can be found in Springbok, one of the many small towns in the Namaqualand area. The Springbok hotel in Springbok offer accommodation nearby to this stunning park, meaning that you can prepare your picnic ahead of time and arrive with freshly made sandwiches, iced tea and other snacks.
There are a variety of flat areas to choose from for picnicking, many of which offer gorgeous views across the park and further beyond. There are fun 4x4 trails for the more adventurous families and hiking trails to surprise and delight nature lovers. If you go in the ‘off season’, when the flowers are not in bloom, you will still be able to see a unique array of flora and fauna to please the eye. The self-catering accommodation in Springbok provides pamphlets with information on the highlights of this park.
Nestled between Alexander Bay and Papendorp is an area called the Diamond Coast. While much of the Namibian coast is off limits due to continued mining, the Diamond Coast is open to visitors. Here you will find quiet, coastal villages with beautiful scenery and perfect picnic spots overlooking the ocean.
You will be able to absorb the magnificent nature of the surrounding area and even be able to see shipwrecks off the coast if you venture onto the sandy beaches. There are some facilities in the towns to help make your picnic easier, and the towns that are found along the Diamond Coast include Hondeklip Bay, Koingnaas, Kleinsee, Mcdougalls Bay, Port Nolloth and Alexander Bay.
Riemvasmaak is a village between the Orange and Molopo rivers, with the rocky mountain landscape having been formed by ancient volcanic activity. In and around the hot springs area, you will find picnic spots overlooking the starkly beautiful landscape.
You can spot wild vegetation such as camel thorn, and animals such as antelope and baboons. Don’t forget to spend time unwinding in the hot springs themselves, allowing yourself to truly relax in the warm, healing water while gazing out over the gorgeous Northern Cape landscape. Bring your swimming costume and pack a feast that can be enjoyed while soaking up the hot spring water… a glass or two of champagne would not go amiss here!
Having a picnic is one of life’s simple joys. It harkens back to a slower-paced time, when we could truly stop and ‘smell the roses’. There is a place where time moves slower than other places, and that is the Northern Cape.
The stark, rugged beauty of the area is the perfect backdrop for a romantic sunset feast or an energetic family trip up a hiking trail. Wherever you choose to place your picnic blanket, remember to pack sunscreen and plenty of water to stave off the African sun.