The Richtersveld is a desert landscape characterized by rugged kloofs and high mountains, situated in the north-western corner of South Africa’s Northern Cape Province.
It is full of changing scenery from flat, sandy, coastal plains, to craggy sharp mountains of volcanic rock and the lushness of the Orange River, which forms the border with neighbouring Namibia. The area ranges in altitude from sea level, to 1,377 m at Cornell-berg.
Located in the north-eastern side of the Northern Cape Province in South Africa, the Richtersveld is regarded as the only arid biodiversity hotspot on earth and the majority of the area is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List due to its cultural values.
Straddling the border between South Africa and neighbouring Namibia is the Richtersveld Trans-frontier Park, a peace park established in 2003. A meeting point between the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Game Park and the Richtersveld National Park.
Richtersveld National Park is a mountain desert ecosystem of great beauty, which boasts one of the world’s richest and most diverse desert floral species.
It has outstanding mountain landscapes, rock formations, shrubs, herb, trees, geophytes and wildlife. It possesses high levels of invertebrate and reptile varieties.
This ecosystem is located in the most north-western region of South Africa and composes a small but significant part of the Succulent Karoo biome.
The Park encompasses 162 445 hectares of ever changing scenery from the undulating, sandy plains to the sharp, rugged, volcanic mountains, to the rolling hills and finally the lush riparian areas and floodplain of the Orange River.
Tree cover is generally low with the exception of the tall Baster Quiver Tree, but there is a profusion of succulents. The different climatic and vegetation zones in the Park support a variety of arthropods, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Belonging initially to the same ‘Colored Rural Reserve’ as the World Heritage Site, and hence belonging to the people as well, the Richtersveld National Park was established in 1991 as the first fully contractual national park in the country.
More recently, in 2003, the Park was integrated in the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Trans-frontier Park, in an effort to enhance biodiversity conservation in a wider area that also incorporates the Ai-Ais Hot Spring Game Park in Namibia.
Hiking, 4×4 driving, and cycling: Extensive network of hiking and 4×4 trails linking up the 7 base camps in the Park (camping sites and self-catering units).
Water sports: Canoeing, swimming, rafting, and fishing in the Orange River.
Where to stay
De Hoop Restcamp
Tatasberg Wilderness Restcamp