The Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, tucked into the far northwest of South Africa’s Northern Cape, must be SANParks’ strangest park. Yes, even stranger than the Golden Gate Highlands (which has a public road running through it) or Addo (which comprises disconnected parcels of land – at least for now).
Well, inside the boundaries of this conservation area you’ll find both Nama herders grazing their flocks and highly visible diamond mining operations. Both seem odd bed-mates for conservation.
All three parties – the conservationists, the mines and the Nama community – jointly manage the area. I should imagine it’s a difficult balancing act.
But although the area around Sendelingsdrif isn’t a promising start to an excursion into one of the last true wilderness areas in South Africa, once you get beyond that point, it all becomes worthwhile. (Read Why you have to visit the Richtersveld wilderness to find out why.)
seem devoid of life, but a staggering hotchpotch of plants scratch out a living here. It’s a place of stark scenery, bizarre rock formations, rugged ravines and dramatic panoramas; a mountain desert where water is scarce, but the life-giving fog from the Atlantic Ocean supports a surprising diversity of small reptiles, birds and mammals, such as Hartmann’s mountain zebra, leopard, brown hyena, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, klipspringer, bats, shrews and mice.
No wonder it was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2007.
More about the Richtersveld
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