Richtersveld National Park Travel Guide

Map of Namakwaland

The Richtersveld National Park is a rugged, desolate and in parts hauntingly beautiful ‘mountain desert’ set in a great loop of the Orange River. It is one of the most important of the country’s conservation areas, not only for the dramatically unique landscapes, but also for its status as South Africa’s first contractual park, an arrangement that brings SANParks and the local Nama community together in a pioneering system of co-management. It is this unique arrangement that allowed the Park to gain its World Heritage status 
 
This is a place of deep canyons, jagged mountain ranges, landscapes made vivid by the unusual colours of the rocks and soils, of extremely rare succulent plants such as the curious kokerboom or quiver tree and the even stranger halfmens, and in the north by the broad, languid stretches and white water rapids of the great Orange River.
 
Tucked away on the Atlantic coast in the far northwest corner of South Africa, the Richtersveld’s northern and eastern borders are defined by the “big bend” of the Orange River ( also known as the Gariep, which means ‘Great River” in the Nama language). Its western perimeter lies on the desolated Atlantic shores, which are flanked by the freezing waters of the Benguela Current. Its southern border roughly follows the road linking Port Nolloth on the coast to Steinkopf, which is about 60 kilometres north of the nearest important town of Springbok.
 
Top things to do in the Richtersveld National Park are: 
 
  • Explore & learn about the unique vegetation of the area including kokerboom or quiver tree ther halfmens
  • Experience the springtime floral splendour of the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld area (between June and October, depending on good rains)
  • Go hiking – there are numerous trails through this unique landscape 
  • Go on an exciting 4x4 trail
  • Bring your binoculars and go bird watching – there are almost 200 specifies in the park 
  • Mountain biking is a fun way to explore this region 
  • Take the family on a donkey-cart ride