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Richtersveld

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The Richtersveld is a mountainous desert landscape with rugged kloofs and high mountains. It is a landscape of ever changing scenery from flat, sandy coastal plains to mountains of volcanic rock and the lush Orange River.

Despite the harsh conditions and shortage of water, this land still manages to produce an astonishing variety of plant, bird and animal life for budget travellers to enjoy.

The Gariep River, which means the ‘Great River in Nama’, is the only perennial river in the region and supports over 33 mammal species. some of which include the Straw-Coloured Fruit Bat and the Cape Clawless Otter. Backpackers should be on the lookout, as often the ripples that the otters make in the water are mistaken for those caused by the legendary Big Snake which roams the area.

Rafting is one of the best things to do in Richtersveld and gives backpackers a chance to see how rich the land is in desert life forms, with an array of unique species specifically adapted for survival in this mountainous no-man's land.

There is much for backpackers to do in the Richtersveld. Venture out to the Richtersveld National Park, a remarkable  treasure-chest that contains the world’s richest desert flora, miniature rock gardens and smallest succulents. Or pay a visit to the Richtersveld Community Conservancy, the reclaimed land of the Nama, the historically disadvantaged people of the Richtersveld that has been set aside to be forever conserved for research and tourism.

The Nama people live what is known as the transhumance lifestyle - to migrate seasonally with their livestock from mountains to the river and so make sustainable use of the fragile succulent ecosystem.

This area offers some of southern Africa's finest hiking, 4x4 driving, camping and cultural experiences.

The Growcery Camp offers backpackers accommodation and tours to the surrounding areas.