10 things to do in |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park

Free Entry to the park from 18-24 September.

The ǀAi-ǀAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is a peace park straddling the border between South Africa and Namibia. It was formed in 2003 by combining the Namibian ǀAi-ǀAis Hot Springs Game Park and the South African Richtersveld National Park.

Here are 10 things you can do there:

1. Search for halfmens at Halfmens Pass

Take a slow drive through Halfmens Pass to spot the peculiar-looking succulents that resemble half humans (halfmens), which are endemic to the area. Folklore has it that these are the frozen forms of the enemies of the Nama people, trapped for eternity in the desert landscape.

2. Check in at the nursery

Sendelingsdrift’s nursery hosts a number of rare and special plants, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

3. Picnic along the Orange River

In this vast desert wilderness, the mighty Orange River rolling by will invigorate the soul. There are many spots to choose from: sit on the grass at Sendelingsdrift, pop in at De Hoop, or enjoy the silence of the river at Richtersberg or Tatasberg. If you’re a fisherman, enquire at reception about a permit.

4. Visit the Petroglyphs

Rock engravings on black dolomite rocks are strewn around the park. But a few clear examples of these centuries-old San petroglyphs can be seen just outside Sendelingsdrif along the river.

5. Take in the sunset

Head to the reception deck and bring a bottle of bubbly. Sip and sigh as you watch the sun set over the mountains of Namibia on the other side of the river.

6. Visit the Hand of God

Locals believe that God pressed a hand down on the rockface of the Richtersveld, leaving a large handprint on the mountains. Head just 14kms down the road from Sendelingsdrift and you’ll find this peculiar sighting right next to the road.

7. Spend the night at Tatasberg

For a secluded and romantic experience, nothing comes close to Tatasberg Wilderness Camp. The sounds of silence are tangible at these rustic chalets perched above the Orange River. Tatasberg makes for an eerie landscape where entire mountains seem to be stacked out of large granite boulders. Search for the genets that live on the surrounding hills, and watch as goats head along their grazing routes in the early mornings.

8. Ride the pont

Sendelingsdrift also serves as a border post for crossing into Namibia. From here, it is only a one-minute ride on the pontoon that ferries cars back and forth across the river border to get into Namibia. Gliding across the water with car in tow in no-man’s land is a moment not to be missed.

9. Hike a trail

For the brave, the four-day Venstervalle trail that starts at Hakiesdoring Trail Camp explores vast quartzite gorges, masses of botterboom, the crags of the Tswaies mountains and the fountains of Armanshoek.

10. Have a photo taken with a quiver tree

The towering quiver trees that jut out into the sky amidst stark landscapes are a captivating sight for most visitors. Some in the park are up to 400 years old, and may even reach 9m high. You’d be remiss to leave without a souvenir – a photo is the only one we recommend.

Written by Taryn Arnott van Jaarsveld.

Contact Information

For enquiries e-mail |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park or phone the following numbers +27 (0)27 831 1506 (Reception) or email: [email protected]

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