Northern Cape, South Africa 2009 - Richtersveld National Park

This is a true wilderness in the north western corner of South Africa, bordering Namibia.

 

From Springbok we travelled to Port Nolleth which is on the coast. When we arrived it was clear and sunny but by the time we'd done some shopping and then visited the museum, which was beautifully laid out, a sea mist had rolled in and there was also a cold wind so we decided against stopping and carried on to Brandkaros Guest Farm where we stayed in a chalet overnight before carrying onto the Richtersveld National Park.

On our way to the Park we could sometimes see the course of the Orange RIver -easy to spot as it was green and lush in a barren landscape.

It was slow going on most of the tracks - it took us 5 hours to cover the 80km from the park entrance to the Richtersberg campsite. Much of the landscape was barren rock or sandy riverbeds but occasionally there were shrubs and flowers.

We managed to get the best site at Richtersberg, right next to the river with some shade as well - what a fantastic spot! We had 3 nights here.

We spent quite a bit of time 'chilling out' at the campsite and also enjoyed watching the antics of a family of 5 pied kingfishers.

We drove out into the park tackling some sandy and rocky trails. They said at reception that some routes were closed but having talked to travellers that had done them we decided to do a circular tour and found the routes were challenging but not too difficult.

 

There are lots of interesting weathered rocks in the park. The one on the left is called 'The Hand of God'.

Although much of the park was barren rock there were flowers, usually in the dry riverbeds.

Our beer bread is becoming a regular item on the menu. We've had it with potjies (stew), burgers and a curry - and it's much easier to carry flour rather than filling the freezer with bread.

An early morning view from the campsite.

The Richtersveld is, unlike other South African National Parks, run with the cooperation of the local Nama people who still live in the park and are nomadic.

During the summer months they keep goats, sheep and cattle near the river but once the rains come they move to winter pastures to let the river land recuperate.

While travelling through the park we would occasionally see enclosures where the Nama keep their animals overnight.

On our last morning at Richterberg we got to know 3 couples from Cape Town - they were kind enough to give us breakfast after we'd packed up.

 

After a night at Potjiespram campsite, which was better than we'd been led to expect as the baboon problem, other people had experienced, didn't materialise. We were the only campers there that night.

Up early to go through the South African border formalitles and take the Pont across the Orange River to Namibia.

1. Karoo
2. Calvinia, Namaqualand
3. Springbok, Namqualand
4. Richtersveld National Park
4. Richtersveld - birds
Diary

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