Don’t underestimate those seasonally bare patches in the veld. In autumn the open ground among the shrubbery may be devoid of living plants, reduced to game and stock paths. Return in spring and witness annuals doing their thing.
Namaqualand is famous for this, but other regions perform similar magic on less applauded scale. Here, around Clanwilliam and more widely in the northwest's response to even little winter rain, it is the shrub-free, fallow field that draws the admirer exclamations.
But a walk in the renosterveld can be an eye-opener. Among the big bushes that mask details, there is no endless, spring flower panorama to grab the mind in instant exhilaration.
There are rewards though. Shrubs and rocks create sheltered nooks for secret gatherings of returning annuals. And it is here that the new year’s growth of bulbous plants, saved from trampling in the semi-shade among conveniently positioned low branches, reveal the unexpected.