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Open Africa

Richtersveld Route


Attractions

Richtersveld World Heritage Site
The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape World Heritage Site: The 160 000ha area of dramatic mountainous deser...

Port Nolloth Museum / Aukwatowa Museum
The museum presents the history of Port Nolloth from approximately 2000 years ago, including exhibits on environment and...


Features

   Accommodation

Below is a list of accommodation establishments along this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Port Indigo Guesthouse and Self-Catering Units
Situated in a small coastal retreat with our back against the Richtersveld and our feet in the Atlantic. Come and enjoy...

Port Nolloth Backpackers
A charming bed and breakfast situated on the beachfront in McDougall's Bay. They also offer backpacker facilities. Pleas...

Scotia Inn Hotel and Restaurant
The Scotia Inn Hotel will offer the visitor to the West Coast an unforgettable experience. The inn has 24 rooms with vie...

The Beachhouse
Port Nolloth is know for its long pristine beaches and picturesque fishing and diamond harbour. The Beachhouse is one o...

Kom Rus 'n Bietjie
Kom Rus 'n Bietjie offers comfortable accommodation with lunch and dinner served on request. Activities in the area:...

Rooiberg Guesthouse
Rooiberg Guesthouse offers accommodation for 12 guests.

Yield House (Artsplace Residency Pty. Ltd.)
Adorned with sandstone carvings, our sea front home has an undisturbed view of the sea, the dolphins and the boats. The...

Sizamile Guesthouse and B&B
Sizamile Guesthouse and B&B is situated in the township of Sizamile in Port Nolloth. They offer accommodation in fiv...

Beach House - Self-Catering Accommodation
Beach House Accommodation offers different luxury and on the beach self-catering units and houses. Sanset: Single st...

Gami/Goas Guesthouse and B&B
Gami/Goas Guesthouse B&B is situated approximately 2km from the beach in Port Nolloth. This B&B has five bedroom...

Country Club Lodge
Facilities: Bed and breakfast or self-catering options are available; Weddings; Conference facilities; They cater...

Basterfontein Cabins and Campsite
Basterfontein Cabins and Campsite is located just off the North- South Road, halfway between the turn-offs towards Fluor...

Bedrock Lodge
Bedrock Lodge is one of the very first houses that were built in town. The cottages were built over 100 years ago in old...

Fluorspar Valley Campsite
This campsite is located amongst the ruins of an old abandoned mining settlement in the Fluorspar Valley. It is a sparse...

Glybank Campsite
Glybank Campsite is located at the foot of southern reaches of the Ploegberg Mountains. Access is very easy with a 2x2 v...

Kalkfontein Guest Farm and Retreat
Kalkfontein Guest Farm and Retreat has a hall, dormitory and bungalows. They mostly cater for tour groups. The dormitory...

Kanikaip Camping
Located on the banks of the Orange River, this site is currently used by our tourist through our reservation system, but...

Kookfontein Rondawels
Kookfontein Rondawels (round huts) offers six self-catering chalets. These chalets are the first of its kind in the Nama...

Lekkersing Oos Kampterrein
A basic campsite in Lekkersing (Richtersveld) managed by three local women. Lekkersing Oos Kampterrein was established a...

Matjieskloof Campsite
This site is situated at the base of Matjieskloof on the north-eastern slopes of the Stinkfontein Mountains. The site wa...

Mountain Valley Guesthouse
Mountain Valley Guesthouse is located a few kilometres from Kuboes and is located on an historical plantation site near...

Richtersveld Experience Lodge
The emphasis of our venture is on affordable self-catering accommodation in Port Nolloth. We would be pleased to hear fr...

Rosynbos Campsite
Rosynbos Campsite is one of the further north campsite that can be visited within the Richtersveld World Heritage Site....

Stinkfontein Campsite
Stinkfontein Campsite lies high up on the south-eastern slopes of the Stinkfontein Mountain. It has magnificent vie...

Sun Valley Campsite
Sun Valley Campsite is situated at the bottom of Sun Valley on an exposed ridge of rocks. This site is rocky with sparse...

The Growcery Camp
Situated on the banks of the impressive Orange River, the Growcery Camp offers a tranquil environment with panoramic vie...

Tierhoek Campsite
Tierhoek Campsite is situated in on the floor of a kloof on the southern edge of the Ploegberg Mountains in the south-ea...

Villa Rosa Guesthouse
A guesthouse in Eksteenfontein that offers comfortable accommodation to travellers.

Vioolsdrift Lodge
Vioolsdrift Lodge offers self-catering accommodation with braai (barbeque) facilities and a swimming pool.

Voetbaai Chalets
Facilities: Self-catering beachfront accommodation; Each chalet has two bedrooms and a kitchen; Television with DST...

Potlepel Guest Farm
Potlepel Guest Farm offers campsites and tents can be provided on request. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served by pri...

Cedswill Guesthouse
This self-catering guesthouse sleeps 8 people in the main house in four separate bedrooms, and two in the self-contained...

   Activities

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Richtersveld Tours
Richtersveld Tours offer custom made tours through the Richtersveld. They establish the interests of specific groups and...

Umkulu Safari & Canoe Trails
Umkulu Safari & Canoe Trails Est. 1996 Our Company offers Adventures & Safaris in Southern Africa: Richtersv...

Buckaroo Saloon
Services: Hour rides; Half day rides including a braai (barbeque) on the beach; Full day rides including a braai (b...

Aukwatowa Tours
Conrad Mouton is a registered tour guide and Winner of the Welcome Awards for "National Best Tourist Guide" in 2008. Con...

Bushwacked
River rafting: The following is included: Crocs (2-man inflatable rafts); Paddles; Lifejackets; Dry Bag / Blue Dr...

Elias's Boat Rides and Fishing
Elias offers boat rides for visitors who would like to experience the Atlantic ocean. Trips can be either short tri...

Namakwa 4x4 Exploration
The Namakwa 4x4 Eco Trail runs from Pella towards Alexander Bay and is divided into two packages that run along the migh...

   Arts & Crafts

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Eksteenfontein Textile Group
The textile group of Eksteenfontein prints beautiful fabrics, often with a Richtersveld motif. T-shirts, curtains, table...

Creative Ways
Creative Ways offers personalized and custom made canvas and leather products. If you are looking for a leather handbag,...

   Environment

Below is a list of environmental attractions on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Richtersveld National Park
The only mountainous desert park in South Africa, the Richtersveld National Park (proclaimed in 1991) is managed jointly...

Lekkersing Nama Society
The Lekkersing Nama Society is a cultural organisation with the vision to rekindle the Nama culture and heritage by teac...

   Food & Drink

Below is a list of restaurants and other food and beverage outlets on this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Benguella Fish Shop
For sale: Seafood; Fresh fish; and Crayfish. Benguella Fish Shop sells fresh fish and crayfish. Tourists can eve...

Die Opellig Kombuis
Die Opellig Kombuis is an informal eatery that serves freshly prepared 'roosterkoek' (traditional grilled bread) and 'br...

Vespetti Italian Restaurant
Vespetti Italian Restaurant is situated right on the beachfront in the coastal village of Port Nolloth in the Richtersve...

Mar-E-Sol Restaurant
Mar-E-Sol Restaurant is a family restaurant with seating for approximately 34 people inside and another 22 seats under c...

Anita's Tavern / Ocean Blue
Anita's Tavern is fully licensed. Please Note:  No credit card facilities are available, but FNB’s ATM is si...

Lucky Penny Restaurant
Lucky Penny Restaurant serves affordable homemade meals, pizzas, steaks and much more. Their speciality is seafood. They...

Nemo's Restaurant
Nemo's is a family restaurant in Port Nolloth with spectacular views over the ocean. The restaurant is famous for its mu...

   Services

Below is a list of services on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Port Tyres & Spares
Services: Tyres; Tubes; Exhaust; Shocks; Batteries; Spare parts; Accessories; 24-Hour call out; Vehicle towin...

Kuboes Tourism Information Centre
This site is situated at the entrance of the Village and serve as a museum and tourism entrance point for the world heri...

Port Nolloth Pharmacy
A local pharmacy in Port Nolloth.

Port Nolloth Spar & Tops at Spar
Spar is a well stocked supermarket that offers a pleasant shopping experience with excellent service. They have a bakery...

Richtersveld Municipality
The municipality in Lekkersing serves as a general information centre for the town during office hours.

Weskus Diensstasie
Weskus Diensstasie is a petrol service station. They also do vehicle repairs, sell fishing and cray fishing equipment, a...

Eksteenfontein Tourism Info Centre
This information centre in Eksteenfontein opened officially on 1 April 2002. It aims to collect pertinent information ab...

 

Overview
History
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The Richtersveld is a mountainous desert situated in the north-west corner of South Africa. To its west is the cold and rough Atlantic Ocean while the remarkable Orange River, the largest river in South Africa, winds along its northern border. The Richtersveld has the highest diversity of succulent plants in the world (4 849 species, of which 1 940 are endemic), as well as eerie coastal mists, alluvial diamonds and truly indigenous cultures.

The Richtersveld has a harsh desert climate with temperatures reaching 50°C on summer days with cold nights. A main road (R382) branches off from the N7 highway at Steinkopf and heads to Port Nolloth, the gateway to the rest of the region. A number of dirt roads serve smaller towns and settlements in the region and the condition of these roads is variable, so enquire with the locals if you are travelling in a passenger vehicle.  It is advisable to always have sufficient water supplies in your vehicle.

Reasons to visit:

Two of the most fascinating plants found in the Richtersveld are the kokerboom or quiver tree and the halfmensboom or 'half-human tree'. Several species of quiver trees (Aloe dichotoma) occur in the Richtersveld. These peculiar trees are similar to the other famous African tree, the baobab, as they also appear to be growing upside-down. Green succulent 'leaves' sprout from the top of many root-like branches. These branches are hollow and the San people used them as quivers for their arrows, thereby naming the tree.

The halfmensboom (Pachypodium namaquanum), a succulent, appears half-human, half-plant with its portly base and bush of green 'hair'. Its single stem with occasional short branches can reach 4m in height. The trunk of the tree is covered in warty protuberances, and the flowers and fruits are produced among the leaves. The flowers, red inside and green outside, are tubular in shape and approximately 5cm long. An entertaining legend surrounds these interesting trees, but it is essential to visit the area and have it told by descendants of the Nama people.

Activities on the Richtersveld Route include hiking, 4x4 trails, bird-watching, mountain biking and donkey-cart rides. Artists, seafood lovers, geologists, photographers and those interested in indigenous culture, diamond mining and desert-living will all find the Richtersveld enchanting. 

The Richtersveld Route also embraces the Richtersveld National Park, a haven for the 4x4 enthusiast. The park is unique in that it is a contractual park - jointly managed by the local community and South African National Parks. Stock farmers may continue to graze their livestock in the park, thereby maintaining a centuries-old tradition. The Richtersveld National Park now also forms part of the Ais-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.

Please note:  The Pontoon is currently closed until further notice.

 

Humans have occupied the Richtersveld for thousands of years. The ancestors of the Bushmen or San who lived here hunted game such as springbok and gathered plant foods such as berries and bulbs. They left behind them small stone tools that can be still found today (all archaeological artefacts are protected by law and may not be removed). The hunter-gatherers probably only used the area after good rains and are likely to have moved seasonally between the plains and the mountains. The first Khoekhoen or pastoralist people moved into South Africa from northern Botswana about 2 000 years ago. They brought with them fat-tailed sheep and later cattle. They spoke a different language from the Bushmen, but also hunted and gathered – slaughtering their animals only on rare, ceremonial occasions. The Nama-speaking herders in the Richtersveld are descended from these first pastoralists.

Because of its isolation, the Richtersveld was not visited by European travellers until the middle of the 19th century. One of the earliest explorers was James Alexander, who prospected for copper and visited the Little Namaqua settlement at Arries Drift in 1836. The mat huts he saw are the same as the matjiehuise that can be seen in the area today. The Richtersveld is named after an inspector, Dr. Richter, who came to inspect a mission station that was founded at Kuboes in 1840.

Prospecting for minerals started in the mid-19th century. White farmers settled in the Richtersveld during the 20th century. The South African government also resettled a large group of so-called 'basters' during the apartheid years in the villages of Eksteenfontein and Lekkersing from their settlements in Bushmanland. The Nama-speaking people of the Richtersveld have retained many aspects of their traditional heritage.

An alluvial deposit was discovered in June 1926 by Captain Jack Carstens, an officer in the Indian Army who was spending his leave visiting his father in Port Nolloth. His findings started a huge rush, but the prospectors faced huge hardships - heat, sand, dust and little fresh water. Geologists soon discovered a baffling fact. The diamonds were invariably found in beds of gravel mixed with the fossilised shells of an extinct warm-water oyster. Diamonds and oysters have no connection, but some geological change must have occurred that killed the oysters (possibly by altering the temperature of the sea) and produced diamonds. 

After the first findings, the government stepped in and secured vast areas to control mining operations so as to not flood the market. Today, millions of rands’ worth of both alluvial and surface-mined diamonds are recovered each year in the Richtersveld area.

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Open Africa Routes

A route is a cluster of travel attractions, accommodation, tour operators, local artisans, guides and restaurants. It brings people together from all levels of community to promote travel to their area. You select what interests you on a route and create your own itinerary.

South Africa - Northern Cape

South Africa - Northern Cape

This route covers the mountainous desert region in the north-west corner of South Africa. The Richtersveld has the highest diversity of succulent plants in the world and is also of interest to artists, geologists and those interested in indigenous culture.

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Tags

4x4 kokerboom halfmens desert quiver-tree culture richtersveld port-nolloth

 

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