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Drought impacts Namaqua National Park's flower season

Thousands of tourists flock to the region every spring to view the wildflowers in bloom.

The water level of the Theewaterskloof Dam near Cape Town dropped to around 30 percent in March 2016. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Namaqua National Park's manager says the drought has had a major impact on the traditional flower season.

Thousands of tourists flock to the region every spring to view the wildflowers in bloom.

As far as the eye can see, the Namaqua National Park is a carpet of mainly orange blossoms.

But Park Manager Angela Isaks explains they have bloomed two weeks later than usual because of a drastic decrease in July rain.

"Last year in July only we had 91mm of rain. This year in July we only had 34mm of rain."

She now expects the flower season to last well into September, but guest house manager in neighbouring Kamieskroon, Ernest Schulze is not as confident, saying the moisture from later rain is equally bad.

"The little bit of moisture that was in the air earlier did help some of the flowers but unfortunately didn't make it because of the hot wind and that wind obviously killed most of the new blooms."

Either way, residents are making hay while the proverbial sun shines to rake in as much money as possible during the shortened season.

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