Originally established as the WWF's Sklipad Flower Reserve the Namaqua National Park was proclaimed in 1999. Once home to Elephant, Eland and Lion, the reserve is now home to a more modest list of African game animals - these include Springbok, Klipspringer, Dassies and Cape Grysbok.
Visitors can enjoy easy sightings of these and other game species from the comfort of their chalets or while exploring the nature reserve along the flower viewing scenic circular drive. Covering 150 000 hectares just off of the N7 in the Northern Cape, the nature reserve is just over 5 hours drive from Cape Town, 21 kilometres (13 miles) west of Kamieskroon.
The northern section of the reserve is dominated by the rugged Namaqua hill reaching a height of 900 metres above sea level in its highest peaks and slowly declining towards the westward coastal plain and the Atlantic Ocean. The eastern regions of the nature reserve are known for magnificent scenery with huge granite domes and boulder outcrops jutting out into the clear blue skyline.
The vegetation of the reserve is made up of Namaqualand Heuweltjieveld (Small hill, semi-arid plants) which grows on the ancient bases of extinct termite mounds, as well as the small areas of Namaqualand Sand Fynbos. Typical species to this vegetation type, such as Proteas, have specifically adapted themselves to survive with the low rainfall in the area. The most well know area of the reserve, where the beautiful display of flowers blossom, is the Skilpad (tortoise) section where an abundance of daisies grow.
At certain times of the year, along the coastline and in the waters bordering the reserve visitors will be able to see Whales and Dolphins as well as Cape Fur Seals who breed just off shore in one of the world's largest colonies. There are over 123 species of birds found in the reserve including a number of Palearctic waders.
The nature park is also considered an excellent location for viewing raptors and bird-watchers can look forward to spotting Pale Chanting Goshawk and Black Harrier. Nesting up in the rugged eastern section of the reserve one will also find Verreaux's Eagle, Cape Eagle-Owl and Jack Buzzard.