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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Nieuwouldville spring flower bonanza Part 1 of 2

 Nieuwoudville 2020 , spring flower bonanza


Exploring the Hantam National Botanical garden just outside of the quaint town of Nieuwouldville, we were fortunate to meet the curator, Eugene Marinus, of this national treasure. We enquired with him about this years spring flower season, and to our surprise, Marinus mentioned that it was the best season in nineteen years.




Captivated by the floral display we surveyed the area, a warm spring morning, wind-still and picture-perfect, and soft fleecy clouds in the vivid blue sky helped to complete the moment. Having arrived early, we had a full day of activities listed. Absorbed and amazed by the variety of spring flowers and the abundance, we could appreciate the term 'carpets of spring flowers'. 




With the sun now way past midday, we returned to Matjiesfontein; this would be our base camp for our weekend getaway. Matjiesfontein is approximately ten kilometres outside of town, with no electricity, nor the standard amenities that one would expect in a small town. We had travelled more than three hundred kilometres to experience farm style living right amidst the spring flowers.




Upon arrival in Matjiesfontein, we introduced ourselves, and one of the caretakers showed us our self-catering cottage, aptly named Kosie se Kaya (Koos's home). This quaint cottage was unmistakenly one of the original staff members accommodation, and our host confirmed it was her mother's house. 




Our expectation we not exceeded, and we started to settle into our home away from home. As luck would have it, power was a problem.  After some negotiations, our host upgraded us the central accommodation. 



To say we were not surprised at our new five-star accommodation would be an understatement, thatched roof, power points, space to sleep ten guest and a fireplace for a king. We later learned that this large cottage was the original school for the new town of Nieuwouldville back in the days when they first established the farming village a few centuries earlier.




Unpacked and settled in, we decided to drive the Matjiesfontein flower route, eager to enjoy this beautiful floral display. The rains in the Cape were the best in years, and the Northern Cape enjoyed a similar blessing. 




We marvelled at the striking colours the spring flowers abound; absorbing up the splendour. Returning way after dark and having enjoyed a full days flower tripping, we returned base camp exhausted. 



By nine that evening, the droning of the generator had stopped, warm and quiet, most of the visitors were well asleep: this was my time, we enjoyed setting up for some night celestial photography. Being this far out of town we had no light pollution, and have never experienced such a bright display of our beautiful milky way. It stretched right across out cottage and faded in the distance towards Nieuwouldville.




Stars, stars as far as the eye could see. Later that evening, we had honour to enjoy the resident Spotted Eagle Owl calling into the night from our rooftop, blissfully relishing this unexpected blessing before falling asleep.



Slightly overcast and cooler we travelled to Gannaboss, the second-largest Quiver tree forest in the world. Despite the colder conditions, Gannaboss was baking hot. Pockets of spring flowers amongst the quivers was a sight to behold. Wasting no time, with little effort in this harsh environment we discovered unique and rare flowers that had us in awe. What seemed like an hour or two, but the entire morning had passed. Content that we had witnessed this natural beauty amongst these ancient quiver trees, one appreciates how they have to endure some of the harshest conditions in this dry, barren landscape. 




Lunch in town, and then a quick stopover at Papkuilsfontein, the variety of abundant spring flowers kept us busy for hours. Not fields of flowers as we had expected but impressive by the new collection of species that we so enjoyed.



We had made a bold decision to change our original spring flower adventure destination, and substitute this with an excursion to Nieuwouldville instead. The reports for Nieuwoudtvill had been outstanding. In the end, this proved to be the best decision indeed. Memorable is a great way to explain this floral display and happy that we managed to get some excellent images, awesome videos, and the family had fun tripping amongst the daisies.


It will we hard to match this display, but next year we look forward to our next adventure come spring. We hope you have enjoyed some of our images and that they will showcase some of the beauty that this Bulb Capital of the World has to offer.


If you have enjoyed this post, please like and share our page, till next time. Alex.


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