The rugged beauty of the Richtersveld Route

by Justin

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Richtersveld, a mountainous desert composed of rugged beauty, passes through Eksteensfontein, Sendelingsdrift, Lekkersing, Kuboes and Sandrift. The Richtersveld boasts the highest diversity of succulent plants in the world!

Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Explore the Richtersveld Route as it cuts through the unique Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, which was formed in 2003 by the signing of an international treaty between South Africa and Namibia.

The area comprises of the Orange River, plains, hills and mountains – a sight not to be missed.

The park is home to game such as the Black-Backed Jackal, Leopard, Hartmann’s Zebra and Duiker. There are also almost 200 bird species to spot.

In terms of flora, there are more than 360 plant species of flowering plants (angiosperms) per square metre. Keep a lookout for unique life forms such as the psammophorous plants, i.e. plant species that build a protective shelter against the force of sandstorms.

Also of interest are the Bastard Quiver Tree and the Half-Mens (half-human) – a succulent with an unbranched, cylindric stem with a tuft of branches near the top. The Namas are said to revere the human-like trees as the embodiment of their ancestors.

Do the Vensterval Trail. Lasting four days, this trail starts at Hakiesdoring Trail Camp and takes adventurers through gorges, fountains and mountains.

Highlights of the park:

  1. The halfmens succulent
  2. The Hand of God rock formation
  3. Jackal Buzzard

Richtersveld World Heritage Site

The Richtersveld is a World Heritage Site consisting of three biomes: desert, succulent Karoo and fynbos.

According to UNESCO, the rich diverse botanical landscape of the Richtersveld, shaped by the pastoral grazing of the Nama, represents and demonstrates a way of life that persisted for many millennia over a considerable part of southern Africa and was a significant stage in the history of this area.

The Richtersveld is one the few areas in southern Africa where transhumance pastoralism is still practised. As a cultural landscape (implying a significant interaction between humans and their physical environment) it reflects long-standing and persistent traditions of the Nama, the indigenous community. Their seasonal pastoral grazing regimes, which sustain the extensive bio-diversity of the area, were once much more widespread and are now vulnerable.


  • 4×4: Take up the challenge by driving up the Domrog Pass and down Akkedis Pass past the Hand of God rock formation.
  • Mountain biking and hiking: Stark ruggedness makes for a picturesque hike/mountain bike ride.
  • Fly-fishing: With the Orange River in the vicinity there are plenty of spots to set up shop. There are a variety of camping spots too.
  • Experience culture: For a small fee, meet with Nama locals who will regale you with tales of years past.
  • Port Nolloth Museum: Small but rich in history, visitors will find porcelain shards from shipwrecks; slave bracelets that were washed up from a doomed vessel called the Black Joke in 1600; a Nama bible; and ostrich-shell fragments that were used by the Khoi and San as water containers.
  • Art: The Dutch Reformed Church in Steinkopf houses artwork from local SA artists.


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