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Rugged kloofs, high mountains and dramatic landscapes that sweep away inland from the Orange River divulge the fact that you are now in the vast mountain desert that is the Richtersveld National Park, an area managed jointly by the local Nama people and the South African National Parks.With a remarkable range of small reptiles, birds and mammals and a staggering assortment of plant life, (some species occurring nowhere else) with gnarled quiver trees, tall aloes and quaint 'halfmens' keeping vigil over this inscrutable landscape.The park is only accessible by means of a 4x4 vehicle, but vehicles with high clearances such as combi's and LDV's do travel in the park. Sedan vehicles are not permitted. There is no specific route that can be booked in advance. Once inside the park, camping is the only accommodation alternative, although there is a choice of 5 campsites:
Potjiespram just 30 minutes from Sendelingsdrif, located on the sandy riverbank and ideal for late arrivals. Almost always windy and very beautiful at sunrise, recommended as a single night stopover because of more spectacular camping sites further along the track, such as De Hoop.De Hoop, with soft beach sand and grassy banks of the Gariep River. Unless in flood, the river is suitable for swimming, bathing, fishing or simply staring at. It is secluded and quiet, apart for the rumble of the rapids.
Richtersberg also known as Tata' Camp is located on the riverbank. If you take the difficult and sandy 4x4 route along the river flood plain, it is a one hour drive from De Hoop. The area is not flat, so camping close to the river is only possible when the water level is low. A track to the area south of the entrance to Richtersberg leads to camping sites on the riverbank, which can only be reached by 4x4's. For the adventurous, Richtersberg is an ideal lunchtime drive from De Hoop.De Koei is located in one of the most florally rich areas of the park, but is used by most visitors as a stop-over when leaving the park via the Helskloof Pass. Unless you are going to study the plant life, it is recommended no more than a one night stay.Kokerboom Kloof is the best 'inland' camping site in the park. The silence is numbing and the plant life fascinating. The gentle sloping valley floor is adorned with rocky outcrops, each separately sculpted, fashioned and then scarred, cut and jumbled by wind-borne sand, water and ice. These frivolous sandstone formations have been given the names such as Baboon Skull Rock, Sphinx and Moon Rock, giving you an idea of their fascinating shapes.
Potjiespram Rest Camp Camp Site (CK6)- Base rate 2 people - Max 6 people- Ablutions- COLD water shower- Helskloof closed. Access through Sendelingsdrif.- No power- Very rustic
Richtersberg Rest Camp Camp Site (CK6)- Base rate 2 people - Max 6 people- Ablutions- COLD water shower- Helskloof closed. Access through Sendelingsdrif.- No power- Very rustic
Sendelingsdrif Rest CampCamp Site (CK6 )- Base rate 2 people - Max 6 people- Helskloof closed. Access through Sendelingsdrif.- No power point- NOTE: Construction in progress at Sendelingsdrif
Chalet (CH2)- Base rate 2 people - Max 2 people- 2 single beds- Aircon- Ceiling Fan- Helskloof closed. Access through Sendelingsdrif.- Kitchenette- NOTE: Construction in progress at Sendelingsdrif- Units overlook the Orange River- Wc and shower
Chalet (CH4)- Base rate 2 people - Max 4 people- 2 bedrooms, each with 2 single beds- Aircon- Ceiling Fan- Helskloof closed. Access through Sendelingsdrif.- Kitchenette- NOTE: Construction in progress at Sendelingsdrif- Units overlook the Orange River- Wc and shower
Tatasberg Wilderness CampReed Cabin (RC2Z)- Base rate 2 people - Max 2 people- 2 single beds- Braai facility on deck- Gas stove and fridge- Guests to provide own drinking water and fire wood- Helskloof closed. Access through Sendelingsdrif.- Paraffin lamps- Ramp- Solar power, no plug points- Universal accessible shower- Utensils- Wc
Reed Cabin (RC2)- Base rate 2 people - Max 2 people- 2 single beds- Braai facility on deck- Gas stove and fridge- Guests to provide own drinking water and fire wood- Helskloof closed. Access through Sendelingsdrif.- Paraffin lamps- Solar power, no plug points- Utensils- Wc and shower
Rates Include:Accommodation and VATRates Exclude:Optional excursions
ClimateThe Richtersveld climate is harsh and dry, with extreme temperatures of up to 53°C having been recorded in mid-summer. Activity should be restricted to early mornings and late afternoons. Nights are cool, but may become chilly during winter. Heavy nighttime dew occurs in the park.Handy HintsArrive at Sendelingsdrift early as you need at least 3 hours to reach De Hoop. You then need more time to get to the other camp sites. Potjiespram is near to mining activities in the vicinity, there is dense bush, deep sand and it is far from the Orange River. Deflate your vehicle's tyres before tackling the park. Take 2 spare tyres with. If you camp at De Hoop or Richtersberg, you don't need much fresh water because the river is at your disposal. Be prepared for difficult terrain between Sendelingsdrift and De Hoop. Exit the park through Helskloof Pass - the views are wonderful. Don't try to tackle the river road between De Hoop and Richtersberg in a 2X4 because of the deep sand. Binoculars and cameras are a must. Insect Repellent is strongly recommended
Office Hours08:00 - 16:00 at SendelingsdriftTake NotePlastic refuse bags are essential as all rubbish must be removed on departure. Firewood and kindling may not be collected in the park. Gas cookers are recommended due to evening winds. Extra spare wheel, tools, spares, enough food and extra water containers are essential. Make sure that you always have a good supply of water. Fresh water is available at Sendelingsdrift. Do not sleep on the bare ground as the park is an ideal scorpion habitat. Cotton sheets will keep insects at bay.Driving off indicated routes and outside camping sites is a serious offence. It is harmful to the park and dangerous to the visitor.Scarves protect against dust and wet towels from extreme heat. Provide clothing for extreme temperatures. No pets, generators or outboard motors permitted. Picking of plants, removal of seeds, rocks, crystals or driftwood is an offence. Please help us to preserve the Richtersveld's wilderness atmosphere.Vioolsdrift is the closest international border post with Namibia. The pontoon at Sendelingsdrift is for mining personnel only. Admission and overnight permits must be obtained at the park office at Sendelingsdrift before entering the park. Overnight visitors must arrive before 16:00 to reach camping sites before dark. Internal roads are 'farm tracks', mainly suited to 4x4 vehicles, but vehicles with high clearances such as kombis and LDVs do travel in the park. Sedan vehicles are not permitted. Due to deep-sanded river beds and rough mountain passes, driving in convoy is recommended. Single vehicles must sign an agreement to report back to park headquarters on departure. Driving in the park at night is not permitted.Gate Hours1 October to 30 April: 07:00 - 19:00 1 May to 30 September: 07:00 - 18:00 Staying in touchShould you be in the unenviable position of having to stay in touch, the simple solution is an Inmarsat satellite phone. They can be hired and are simple to use.VehicleA 4x4 is not needed, but a vehicle with ample ground clearance is.
What to takeWater, tents, food, drinks the works. There are no facilities in the national park. The vehicle will need a range of approximately 500kms, not excessive and most vehicles will cope with that. Tyre problems can pose a challenge and it's a good idea to carry two spares or the very least a puncture repair kit. Drive with patience and tyre problems can be avoided.The routeThe first destination is the warden's office at Sendelingsdrif on the Gariep River (Orange River),. Entry must be here and exit ideally is Helskloof on the other side of the park. Getting to Sendelingsdrif will take a couple of days from Gauteng and a day from Cape Town.