Skilpad Wildflower Reserve

Springtime Beauty

The Skilpad Wildflower Reserve is located just west of the town of Garies and forms part of the Namaqua National Park. The reserve was established by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 1988 to protect and conserve the Namaqua Floral Kingdom.

©Karl Svendsen

The reserve is a popular tourist attraction for its springtime beauty: fields upon fields of flowers bloom in an assortment of vivid colours that are sure to entice any and all nature-lovers. This usually happens around August to October.

Flowers and More

©Karl Svendsen
You will also find a variety of reptiles and many invertebrates specific to the Namaqualand region in the reserve. White, orange and yellow Namaqualand daisies grow wild in the Skilpad Nature Reserve. Other plants of interest include small bulbous plants, better known as Vygies, that produces bright pink flowers. The 5 km dirt road that circles the reserve will offer fantastic views of the springtime flower show. If you are in a 4x4 vehicle, there is an excellent route that will take you from the reserve to Groen River - a truly stunning drive.

Stop and Stay Awhile

©Jacques Marais

Visitors to Garies can occupy themselves by tackling a number of walking and hiking trails in the area. The nearby Letterklip on the Studers Pass gravel road is a provincial heritage site and another place to visit. It is a collection of boulders is famous for some very old graffiti that was made when Cape Colony Governor Simon van der Stel wrote his name into the rocks, way back in 1685.

Other travellers continued the tradition and, during the Anglo-Boer War, British soldiers carved their names and regimental insignia into the walls while they were hiding out from the Boer commandos. Garies is in close proximity of various nature reserves, including the Skilpad Wildflower Reserve and Goegap Nature Reserve.

By David Fleminger