Northern Cape DestinationsKamieskroon, Namakwa
Kamieskroon, just off the N7 between Garies and Springbok and 20 km west of the Namaqua National Park, lies in the midst of the Northern Cape's flower route, resting in amongst a series of huge, angular granite hills and distinctive kopjies that make up the Kamiesberg.
Its size classifies it as a 'dorp' – almost too small to be a town or village, but cute enough to warrant a visit, if nothing else a drive through to catch a glimpse of its quaint church and hotel.
The origin of the village's name comes directly from the rock formations, although nobody can quite agree on the exact derivation. Some say that 'kam' means two, for the two distinctive peaks of the mountain, while others claim that 'kamies' comes from the Nama name 'th'amies' meaning 'jumble'. Others still refer to the Nama word 'tkimmie', meaning 'to gather'.
What they can agree on is the word 'kroon', which refers to the 'crown' – a rather obvious peak, called Kardoukop, just outside town – one of three unmistable peaks that feature in the landscape. The other two are Sneeukop (snow in evidence during winter) and Boesmankop.
Being situated on a rise does ease the arid and fierce temperatures during summer somewhat (down to a meagre 35 degrees Celsius).
There are those bike fans who swear Kamieskroon is the country's best-kept mountain-biking secret – four routes cross the Kamiesberg area to the east of the village linking the villages of Leliefontein (interestingly the highest inhabited village in the Kamiesberg), Vissersplaat and Nourivier.
And few people know of the secret quiver tree forest 50 km from Kamieskroon - a drive east towards Rooifontein.
The period between August and October (depending on the rains this can start as early as mid July and end as late as November) is when Kamieskroon is at its loveliest and a wonderful base from which to explore the flowers.