Nieuwoudtville slumbers alongside the R27, up the steep and winding Vanrhyns Pass, at the top of the Bokkeveld Mountains. It is well known for its spring flower displays and the area surrounding the town contains more bulb plants than anywhere else on earth, earning it the title of the ‘bulb capital of the world’.
The tiny town is built around a magnificent stone church and has a rural feel unlike any other in Namaqualand. It consists of a small collection of sandstone buildings, a scattering of houses and large plots with windmills and livestock.
To say it is sleepy is an understatement, but it does liven up during flower season. In the vicinity are some farms well-known for flower viewing and accommodation, including Papkuilsfontein and Matjiesfontein, and it is also close to the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve.
Look out for
Wild flower displays - The extent of the displays depend on good winter rainfall and usually occur between late July and mid-September when the area is saturated with blooms. There are plenty of places around the town where you can see good displays. The closest is the 115ha nature reserve on the R27 about 2km east of town. There is another wild flower reserve in the Hantam Botanical Gardens on the gravel road just south of town. Another 8km further along this road lies Matjiesfontein Padstal, which offers 1 000 hectares of wild flowers that visitors can drive through along farm tracks.
The Quiver tree forest - 20km north on the R357 there is a signpost for ‘Gannabos’. Turn right and 3km further on there is a forest (a sparse desert-forest, not a thick woody green one) that stretches for about 4km along the side of a ridge and is said to be the largest and the most southerly colony of Aloe dichotoma.
The Glacial Rock Striations next to the road 6km south of town, are from the Permian Era some 280-million years ago.
Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve at 5 577ha, is primarily for hikers, but day walks or picnics are possible if permits are arranged well in advance. The reserve is a series of deep ravines incised by the Oorlogskloof River and offers an unspoilt wilderness experience.
Nieuwoudtville Waterfall - the Doring River tumbles 100m into a deep ravine during the winter rainy season. It is 7km north of town off the R357. There is a path-network and several viewpoints overlooking the falls.