The Richtersveld: wild art in wind and sky

04.08.23 03:57 PM Comment(s)
Sometimes you just want to get away, the further the better. Sometimes peace and quiet just isn’t enough – you want a wild place, desolate and slightly eerie. You want a place only disturbed by the wind, where the only change is cloud formation in a vast sky. You want a place where the mind is filled only with curiosity, wonderment, and the stimulating, creative energy of otherworldliness.

Then the Richtersveld is what you’re looking for; a dramatic mountainous desert in north-western South Africa where time seems to have stood still for thousands of years. To the west lies the cold wash of the Atlantic Ocean, and to the north runs the mighty Orange River.

The Orange River gorge that separates Namibia and South Africa is 350 million years old, and abounds with history and spectacular scenery. Animal paintings are found in caves, some estimated as over 25 000 years old. While the environment is so barren and hostile in appearance, you may think you have landed on Mars, it is a landscape unique in flora and plays host to a diversity lichens and other unusual vegetation.

  • The Richtersveld covers 160,000 ha and is a Cultural and Botanical Landscape World Heritage Site consisting of three biomes – desert, succulent Karoo and fynbos.
  • Rising approximately 50 metres to 1377 metres above sea level, the Richtersveld ensures a diversity of living things. It’s a must-see for ecologists and nature-lovers alike.
  • The area boasts the highest diversity and richest succulent flora in the world with an array of about one-third of the world’s approximately 10,000 succulent species.
  • Two of the most fascinating plants found in the Richtersveld are the Kokerboom, or quiver tree, and the Halfmens boom, or half-man tree.
  • When you travel deep into the Richtersveld you will encounter the strangest of plants and rock formations, rock art and natural wonders. If you’re looking for the perfect place for hiking, camping, fishing, or canoeing on the Orange River, then the Richtersveld is it.
  • The area sustains the semi-nomadic pastoral livelihood of the Nama people who traditionally move their livestock with the seasons. This rotation between the seasons saves the land from over usage and ensures the survival of the plants and livestock.
  • The Richtersveld is known for its clear night skies and desert mountains. Here you are guaranteed to enjoy some of the best stargazing in South Africa.
  • Wild game has adapted to the harsh living conditions of this desert environment, including black-backed jackal, leopard, Hartmann’s zebra, and duiker.
  • A visit to ancient San engravings is a must-see, providing a fascinating insight into the people who once roamed the area.
  • Accommodation facilities are varied – from rustic camping to rest camps and guest lodges with en-suite facilities.

Come hiking with us in the Richtersveld

Format: Camping with own tents and bedding

Duration: 6 days / 5 nights

Number of people: Minimum of 12 and maximum of 18 hikers

Next tours:
  • 4 – 9 June 2022
  • 21 – 26 May 2023

Heuningland: African & Karoo tours to stir the heart and lift the soul

We are proudly South African and have a fervent love of the Great Karoo, its people and its unique vegetation and animals. We are passionate conservationists of nature and would like to share our knowledge acquired through years of travel and touring experience. We are therefore able to offer custom-designed and distinctively different tour options:
  • Hiking/camping trails or guided self-driving tours through the ancient landscape of the Karoo.
  • Tailor-made safaris to any destination in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, and Botswana.

Find out more at: