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.
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.
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