Ais Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park

The / Ais / Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontierpark is located on the border of South Africa and Namibia and encloses the fascinating Fish River Canyon. This is a place of unique rock formations, many succulents, strange trees, deep silences and an amazing starry sky. The park was added to the World Heritage List of UNESCO in July 2007.

The Richtersveld park is divided in 2 by the Orange River (also known as Gariep River), with its banks full of special plants and shrubs. The park has around 2,700 different plants, of which around 560 are only found here, especially in the higher areas where there is a regular shower of rain.

The most striking species is the Half-Human succulent, a tree-like plant about 2 meters high, without branches, with a tapered top where a joke of leaves grows. Not to be confused with the Quiver tree and the very striking giant aloes. Plants here feed themselves primarily with the water they extract from the mist from the Atlantic Ocean.

The area is also populated by around 200 species of birds, various fish and reptiles and mammals. The predators who survive here in the bizarre heat are; the black-backed jackal, the brown hyena, the caracal, and the leopard. The small klipspringer is common here, but also the kudu, diver, ibex, gray roe deer, gemsbok and the Hartmann’s zebra have adapted to the dry landscape.
Richtersveld is a place where great archaeological finds were made and evidence is still found here that people inhabited these areas long ago.
This cross-border park is still one of the most important areas of natural wealth in Southern Africa and the world! The Nama people together with the South African National Parcs are now involved in the preservation of this area. The Nama’s have a strong sense of culture and this special population lives according to ancient traditions and values, as their ancestors did for centuries, and they still maintain their own language.

In the Richtersveld you will find geometric rock paintings and these would be the first results of Shamanism, paintings created from a state of trance. Only a few animal figures have been found on the rocks in this area. If you want to make sure that you see these paintings, go out with a guide. The guides know the way but also the meaning of these age-old messages and will gladly give you more information.

– The Orange River brings a pleasant coolness and refreshment to the visitor after a day of warmth and dust, fishing, swimming, spectacular rafting or canoeing.
– Behold the beautiful flowers between June and October (depending on the rainfall).
– There are numerous hiking routes in the park, often these are made with a guide, but between November and February these are only recommended for very fit people. Always undertake activities in the early morning or late afternoon due to the heat.
– Guided trails are between April 1 and September 30; Window Trail (4 days – 3 nights) Lilies Corner – Oemsberg Trail (3 days – 2 nights) and Kodas Peak Trail (2 days – 1 night), book these hinking trails in advance!
– It is the area to move around with a 4×4, and there is a 200 km 4×4 trail in the park. Always stay on the trails!

The Aïs-Aïs Hot Springs
In the south of the Canyon you will find the hot springs with a resort run by Namibia Wildlife. The hot water of 60 ° C comes from the springs and is pumped to the thermal baths. This water is rich in fluorides, sulfates and chlorides and could relieve rheumatic pains and diseases that affect the nervous system. But for healthy people it is a wonderfully relaxed phenomenon. Aïs-Aïs is open all year round, but the summers can be extremely hot!

General information
– The restored pontoon at Sendelingsdrift gives you the opportunity to safely cross the Orange River. Cruising times: Summer and winter: 8.00 – 16.15 (depending on the weather conditions)
– Only 4×4 vehicles are allowed in the park. Make sure you bring at least 1 spare wheel, tools and always enough water
– At Sendelingsdrift there is a gas station and a small shop for water and soft drinks. Note: closed on weekends!
– The park has chalets and camping facilities, make sure you arrive early at the entrance of the park, because some camping places are still quite a few miles away in the park! Think of the camera, head cover, sun cream, insect cream and extra water.
– The park has no facilities but petrol and soft drinks are available in a small shop in Sendelingsdrift, this is only open on weekdays.
– There are no ATM facilities in the park.
– Be prepared for the dry, harsh climate, with temperatures that can rise to 50 ° C. Plan your activities in the early morning hours or late afternoon. The nights are cool to cold in the winter months and there is often dense nocturnal fog / dew.
Park opening times:
October 1 to April 30: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
May 1 to September 30: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Office hours: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Conservation Fees: the South African National Park Board has set a daily entrance fee (entrance fee) for all individual SAN parks. If you are going to visit several SAN parks in South Africa then it may be useful to purchase a Wildcard. Please note, your Wildcard is not valid in Namibia.
Accommodation in Richtersveld National Park:
SAN Parks Sendelingdrift Rest Camp
SAN Parks Tatasberg Wilderness Camp

All images/information on this page: © 2004-2016

A foretaste?

One of our customers documented his visit to the Ais Ais Richtersveld National Park in 2017:

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