We were recently lucky enough to spend a week in the Knersvlakte, one of Cape Nature's recently proclaimed reserves. The Knersvlakte is a vast, rocky landscape that stretches for kilometres and kilometres along the N7. It is also a succulent heaven and contains an insane amount of succulent species, some of which are endemic to the region. There isn't currently any accommodation available on the reserve, but we were lucky enough to be invited by a family friend who is a retired botanist and is currently compiling an online reference list of all the succulent species in the greater Namaqualand region, which includes the Knersvlakte. This is a mammoth task, considering there are thousands of species to find, describe and photograph.
We stayed in an old farmhouse without electricity (this is always an added bonus as it really just feels like you are truly away from all the chaos of the city) and explored some of the different corners of the reserve for a couple of days, looking for interesting little succulents all along the way.
Similar to Namaqualand, the rocky landscape appears completely barren at first glance. However, as you look closer, it's as if an entire world opens up, as you start noticing that you're actually standing on the tiniest little succulents. We were lucky enough to see a whole lot of them in bloom this time round, which was extra special. I am always surprised by how luminous their flowers can be. They remind me of neon highlighter colours and almost look unnatural in their brightness!
Can you guys see all the little fatties on the picture above? These guys have their camo game down!
There were also these interesting patches where it looks like the landscape has been churned over by bulldozers or something, but oddly enough the land has been naturally shaped like this! This often forms an almost lunar kind of landscape which was really moody and spectacular!
The Knersvlakte Spens (translated as Knersvlakte Pantry) is a well known point of reference along the N7. They offer all the regular bits and bobs you can expect at a South African farm stall and they also have a succulent nursery, which is really cool since it means you have the option of buying succulents rather than just harvesting them from the surrounding area (which is actually illegal).
We woke on the last morning to see that a thick mist that made the landscape even more mysterious and interesting had rolled in over the plain.
A last stop on the way home, was the Giant Orange Farmstall (I'm not sure if this is it's actual name, but this is how we refer to it). They sell the juiciest citrus from the Citrusdal area and we also got some incredible sweet potatoes. All their other veggies looked really good too, so this is definitely a stop worth making!
We always love spending time in this part of the country that can so easily be ignored. It's close to Cape Town and a refreshed body and mind are guaranteed after spending a couple of days exploring these surprisingly fertile plains, so next time you have a weekend and you don't know what to do with it, why not go hunting for succulents!