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Skilpad Wildflower Reserve, Namaqualand, Northern Cape.
Namaqualand, a winter rainfall desert, is recognised as a significant and threatened global centre of diversity and endemism for plants, reptiles and many invertebrates. It is home to the world’s largest and most charismatic succulent flora and is internationally renowned for its annual spring flower display. Mining and overgrazing seriously threaten this unique eco-system. A national park in Namaqualand will help conserve this asset for the benefit of South Africans as well as foreign visitors.
Established in 1988 by the WWF, it consists of shrubland and abandoned wheat fields. It is these old fields that offer a spectacular display of Namaqualand daisies each year in spring (July through September). This 930-Ha reserve is situated 700-m above sea level and catches the mist blowing in from the sea. Thus, even in years when the surrounding area does not have great flower displays, Skilpad’s is often magnificent. During the summer months many tortoises are seen at seepage areas close to the homestead, hence the name (Afrikaans for tortoise). The original name was Skilpadsyferwater (tortoise seepage water). Over 150 species of bird occur in the area, 89 of which have been confirmed. Some mammals that occur include bat-eared fox, dassie, baboon, mongoose, hares and other small mammals. The reserve is open during the flower season from 08h00 through 17h00. The flowers are at their best between 10h30 and 16h00. A fee is payable at the start of the 5-km circular route.
No camping or overnight facilities. Limited toilet facilities. Litterbags are provided at the entrance. A farm stall on the adjacent farm offers light meals, refreshments, souvenirs and braai facilities.
The reserve is west of Kamieskroon, which is on the N7 south of Springbok, which is at the intersection of the N14 with the N7. ADSkilpad
Donations: WWF South Africa
Box 456 Stellenbosch 7599
+27 (21) 887 7801 telephone
+27 (21) 887 9517 fax
Enquiries: Kamieskroon Hotel
+27 (27) 672 1614 telephone.
3176/3%Last update: 2014-03-04 20:16
Author: Alan McIver
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