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For at least nine months of every year Namaqualand is a dry and barren semi-desert stretching for 600 miles up the west coast of South Africa and covering an area of 440,000 km2.

However, what the Namaqualand region is most famous for the metamorphosis that follows the winter rains. Between August and October the life-giving rains transform the harsh looking arid landscape into a dazzling carpet of wildflowers.

The sight of the Namaqualand flowers alone attracts thousands of visitors to South Africa every year. The luminous swathes of pink, orange and yellow are extremely accessible and there are various national parks that cater for the budding botanists, including the Namaqua National Park and Goegap Nature Reserve.

Day trips from Cape Town are plentiful at this time but to really see the flowers, book a couple of nights at different places in the region and experience the sometimes startling differences between floral regions.

Essentially associated with South Africa, the Orange River divides Namaqualand into two portions: Greater Namaqualand to the north (in the Kara region of Namibia) and Little Namaqualand in South Africa.