Northern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Hantam National Botanical Garden
Established in 2007, the Hantam National Botanical Garden lies on the Bokkeveld Plateau just outside the town of Nieuwoudtville.
Where? Oorlogskloof Road, Nieuwoudtville, Upper Karoo, Northern Cape
When? Open every day. Best from August to mid-October
How? Call +27 (0)27 218-1200
Hantam National Botanical Garden is regarded as one of the world's most special biodiversity treasures, and forms the first National Botanical Gardens in the Northern Cape Province, and the ninth National Botanical Garden in South Africa. During flower season the garden is a feast of flowers and this is one of the loveliest places to explore the bulbs on the Bokkeveld Plateau during spring.
Today's Hantam National Botanical Garden used to simply be a farm, called Glenlyon, owned by Neil McGregor. It is quite a wonderful story that, simply told, involves Neil's relationship with the biodiversity on his farm and his return to a style of farming that allowed the balance of nature as it was to return to the farm.
Several exciting projects took place here and as far back as 1960, Neil began a flower bus ride around the farm, keeping other cars off his land, whilst allowing people to view the delights of the flowers when left to do their own thing.
The BBC and Sir David Attenborough discovered the farm during the early 1990s and the director of Kew Gardens was heard to comment that 'this farm is a botanical treasure of international importance'. The farm was eventually sold to SANBI in 2007.
Today one can do a series of nine walks across its length of over 6 000 hectares on several portions of land. Almost 40% of the flora is bulbs but there are also large patches of renosterveld fynbos and succulent karoo. Peak season is between August and mid-October but if it is a good year, bulbs will be in evidence as early as the first rains in March / April.