I have to admit that I am a sucker for beauty. Every year in springtime, our family goes to a farm called Papkuilsfontein, south of Nieuwoudtville in Namaqualand. The abundance of flowers varies from year to year according to the unpredictable rainfall – some years every square inch seems to be in bloom, and other years the flowers are crowded around the rocks where they can enjoy the run-off from the little rain that falls. Every year I am bowled over by the flowers, by the sublime landscape, and the opportunity to find solitude, far from human habitation, among such beauty.
Here are some pictures we’ve taken over the years. All of these flowers are wild flowers, and none have had any human attentions apart from those of the photographer.
This was taken on a field that had been plowed. Plowing disrupts the eco-system, a single species may easily come to dominate.
Left to itself, the veld is more mixed, with bushes and multiple species mixed together including bushes – this is the northernmost edge of the fynbos biome.
Gazanias, small bulbs and grasses. The white dot daisies are called gansogies – goose-eyes.
In the morning everything is coated with dew. The daisies are still closed.
It’s midday and all the daisies are straining for the sun. The pink spikes of the aandlelies, still tightly closed, poke up among them.
ANd here they are open. It seems to be a field of lilies only, but if you look among the stems there are a great many other species of flower. Click on the picture to see it big.
It’s difficult to get from place to place at Papkuilsfontein – for two reasons. The first is that when everything is covered in flowers, it’s hard to know where to put your foot down. The other is that, well, every space is so full of luscious detail that it detains one, pulling the eye into a magic garden, and destinations become unimportant – the present moment, lit up with flowers, turns out to be the destination.