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The Wild Cape

We wanted to know why Explore Leader Vincent chooses to lead The Wild Cape trips and why he thinks that any chance to see the Cape’s flowers is worth taking!
Vincent, tell us a little about yourself and why you lead tours?
I consider myself as a destination specialist in the field of guiding. I love the outdoors and adventure. I am very experienced in the bush and desert and have been a professional guide for the past 20 years. I was born in Namibia, therefore I am used to the terrain and know the country very well. My other accomplishments include being a veterinary assistant; professional driver and a body guard. I have been game ranger for some time and also I was a game farm manager.

Why do you enjoy the wild flower season?
The flower season brings out the natural beauty of the surroundings. The flower season is short; and yet within that limited space of time, the flowers can cover most parts of the Cape all the way to Namaqualand region in a spectacle of vibrant colours.
It is my objective to bring people closer to the rich nature and culture of Africa and its people.

What is interesting about the Cape Flowers season?
The Wild Cape Tour is offered during the rainy season (July – September) to maximize the potential for seeing the flowers on our route. This is when you will find a range of beautiful flowers showing off their purple, deep orange, red and pink petals. Almost 4,000 different species of plant seeds lay in the ground awaiting germination that depends entirely on what the weather is doing.
(Germination is the process by which an organism grows from a seed or similar structure).
Excitingly, many of these species are endemic to the Western Cape and can be seen nowhere else on earth! Such species include bands of gousblomme and vygies, as well as nemesias, lachenalias, babiana, ixias, yellow Leucospermum reflexum, the Snow Protea (protea cryophylla), blue Lachanaea filamentosa, yellow sparaxis, pink Cyanella alba and the Clanwilliam Cedar (widdringtonia cedarbergensis).

Other than the flowers can you tell us what else is worth seeing on the Cape Town – Windhoek route compared to the more famous Garden Route?  
The Cape Town region and all of the highlights within in, such as Table Mountain, Robben Island, Cape of Good Hope sell themselves! It’s a vibrant city which everyone loves but a mere 25 minutes north of the Cape Town you will find a whole new world just waiting to be explored; one of unspoiled beauty, pristine beaches, quaint fishing villages and rich, cultural history.
  • We’ll learn about the traditional Rooibos tea cultivation and have the chance to try the local produce.  Rooibos has been known for many generations by the local folk to have healing properties. Not only is Rooibos tea caffeine free, but it is full of antioxidants, which if enjoyed with honey, ensure a vigorous body and mind.
  • Rich in history, Okiep is the oldest mining town in South Africa where copper was first discovered in 1855, and it has two national monuments, namely a Smoke Stack (ventilation shaft) and the Cornish Pump House. The Cornish Pump House is a well preserved steam pump engine and is the only remaining pump house of its sort in the Southern Hemisphere. You’ll find many of these pump houses in Cornwall, England, and it’s from here where a majority of Okiep residents arrived from when the mining industry started in the 19th century.
  • Further north we’ll come to Fish River and Fish River Canyon, which gives the Grand Canyon a run for its money! If we’re lucky we’ll be able to enjoy a sundowner and spectacular sunset over Fish River Canyon which is a must when in Namibia!
  • The ghost town of Kolmanskop located in the Namib Desert is another highlight. Named after a transport driver, Johnny Coleman, who abandoned his ox wagon during a sandstorm, this town was once a very rich mining village, but is now an abandoned settlement that has been reclaimed by desert sands. The sense of eeriness makes it a perfect photo stop!
  • Last but not least, Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. Both perfect specimens of Nambia’s unspoilt desert beauty, famous for colossal red sand dunes, which are some of the tallest dunes in the world and estimated to be 5 million years old. At Sossusvlei the dunes meet preventing the Tsauchab River to flow any further, hence its name that translates to “dead-end marsh”. The nearby Deadvlei is a clay pan characterized by dark, dead camel thorn trees contrasted against the white pan floor. Formed when the Tsauchab River flooded, the pan has since become desolate and arid.

The Wild Cape trip offers a fantastic opportunity to see a carpet of flowers, many of which can only be found in this part of the world. However, the flower season is very short (and very sweet!) and is dependent on the weather, so should the flowers not be in full bloom we’ve worked together closely with our team to ensure that the Wild Cape offers many other highlights and shows a different side to the Cape and Southern Namibia than other more visited routes in South Africa. We’re sure this trip will be a hit!