Newly appointed park manager for Namaqua National Park, Angela Isaks, has big plans for this unspoilt gem that is home to some 3,500 plant species found nowhere else on Earth.
Ask Angela Isaks (pictured above), Namaqua National Park’s new park manager, about her plans for the park in coming years, and her answer is quite simple: happy staff, happy communities and happy tourists. Angela is eager to make her mark by positioning the park as a top destination.
“Namaqua National Park can definitely be regarded as a wellness hub. Especially now, during the change of the season, the beauty of the vegetation and geography – in particular the picturesque mountain environment – is food for the soul.” Angela wants to market the park’s scenic features in tandem with local and regional tourism programmes to draw visitors throughout the year.
During the months of August and September, Namaqua is of course known for its spectacular flower display. But, says Angela, the park offers splendid natural wonders all year round. “The beauty of the mountains and vegetation, the transition from autumn to winter, antelope like red hartebeest, springbok and gemsbok… On a good day you can see as far as the coast. Then the smell of seawater and the pristine environmental state of the Groen River Mouth with its birdlife… Just wow!”
And has the park received enough rain leading up to the popular flower season? “It’s a case of the more, the merrier. In short, no.” Flower lovers will have to try their luck in spring to see what Mother Nature decides to dish up.
Fans of Namaqua National Park will be glad to hear that chalets at the park’s coastal section are on the cards. “This is one of the most beautiful seasides in our country,” Angela says. Another of her development goals is to ensure that local youth be equipped to take up careers in the park.
In 2004, Angela kicked off her career as people and conservation manager at Augrabies Falls National Park with a keen interest in our national parks’ fauna and flora. She becomes particularly enthusiastic when considering Namaqua’s ecology. Situated within the Succulent Karoo Biome, the park is a biodiversity hotspot.
“Sand movement is a key process in the ecology of the region and the park offers a unique opportunity to conserve this large-scale natural phenomenon. The number of plant species in the region is particularly high in comparison with other arid regions of the world, and many of the species are endemic. Considering the park’s special biodiversity value, expansion of the Namaqua National Park is a priority for SANParks.”
Women and conservation
“Firstly, I regard myself as a SANParks official, and do not box myself as a woman. It’s about being fully equipped to do the job and not because I am a woman. The greatness of it all in this beautiful country of ours, is that women are no longer marginalised but are able to compete on the same level with their male counterparts.”
Contact Namaqua National Park on +27 (0)27 672 1948 or SANParks Central Reservations on +27 (0)12 428 9111. Alternatively, send an email to [email protected].