Aug 5, 2011   //   by Sam Wingate   //   Safaris  //  Comments Off on Richtersveld

The Ai-Ais/Richtersveld National Park is a  World Heritage Site known as The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape and is a 1,600 mountainous desert situated in the Northern Cape province. It was declared a World Heritage Site in order to preserve the Nama culture, the botanical biodiversity and the land management processes which have ensured the protection of the succulent Karoo vegetation, demonstrating a harmonious interaction between people and nature.
This unusual-looking but beautiful Richtersveld area is communally owned and managed and sustains the semi-nomadic pastoral livelihood of the Nama people. The Nama are descendants of the Khoi-Khoi who
together with the Bushmen / San people are the original inhabitants  of Southern Africa. This nomadic way of life may have persisted for 2,000 years on a seasonal basis. The Nama lived in portable rush mat houses (haru om) and migrated seasonally in order to sustain the grazing grounds for their herds of sheep and cattle. This is the only area where the Nama still enact this way of life and includes their grazing grounds and stockposts. Their knowledge of the medicinal and nutritional value of plants is unique and they still practice this tradition of plant gathering.
The Richtersveld and the Ai Ais Hot Springs Game Park in Namibia were recently incorporated into one large conservation area called the Ai-Ais / Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. This also includes Namibia’s Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in Africa.
The arid mountain desert and succulent landscape of the Richtersveld is truly fascinating and other-worldly and attracts many visitors though access requires a 4WD or vehicle with high ground clearance.
Accommodation in the Richtersveld consists of two Wilderness Camps, a Rest Camp at Sendelingsdrift where one can cross into Namibia on a pontoon, and a variety of camp sites. De Hoop Camp Site is one of the most popular areas and is beautifully located on the Orange River.


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