On the 8th of September 2012, the Namaqua Flower Run took place at the Roodebergskloof Conservation Farm near Garies in Namaqualand. This year boasted 280 participants who tried their best to conquer the highest peak in the Northern Cape.
The Namaqua Flower Run is a 20km loop on the Roodebergskloof Trail. The race starts with a tough 12km ascent to the summit of the Northern Cape's highest peak, the Rooiberg, followed by an 8km sprint down the valley to the finishing line. The route will lead runners and hikers alike through a beautiful South African setting which, depending on the rains before, will be dotted with flowers.
Although the event has become known for its tough trail and ability to test the endurance of the fittest, it is the rich biodiversity in the area, the high mountains with steep slopes and deep valleys that attract avid athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Rooiberg catchment on Roodebergskloof is a centre for endemism for many plant and animal species. The catchment supports nine endemic plant and 23 insect species which are not found elsewhere. Roodebergskloof is a communal farm that was bought by the Department of Land Affairs in 1999 for the Garies community as part of the land reform programme.
The Namakwa Trail Run is a unique event aimed at creating and encouraging tourism in the area as well as showcasing the natural beauty of the Namaqualand. This is the fifth year that the race has been taking place. For many of the runners it was the first time on the trail, as several of them came from as far as Secunda and Bloemfontein.
Before the start of the race, Acting Municipal Manager of the Kamiesberg Municipality, Mr Sakkie Jenner, welcomed all the participants and spectators and wished them good luck. Jenner said “It is encouraging to see the increase of participants this year.”
The local Garies rugby team as well as learners from Concordia Primary School were present. Either way these "Namaqua Trappers" overcame their own challenges to get to the dam for a refreshing swim and priceless enjoyment of the breathtaking landscape. Also in participation at the event was the SKEP Namakwa Coordinator, Abe Koopman and intern Boitshekwane Kgantsi. “The run was hard work but a lot fun” said Kgantsi.
The 10km route was won by a novice, Abre Bezuidenhoudt, a 13 year old grade six learner from Concordia Primary School in 57 minutes and 40 seconds. The female winner was Carla Beyers who completed the race in one hour and one minute. Martin Kleynhans took the honours by completing the 20km race in two hours and twenty minutes. The female winner Emma Gray took the title in 3hrs 47min. The first local winner was Warnell Engelbrecht, who arrived 10th at an overall in a time of three hours and 25 minutes.
At the finishing line runners were welcomed by the cool waters of the farm dam and some local 'kos' provided by the ladies in the 'kookskerm'.