The Richtersveld National Park is a unique mountain desert wilderness of great beauty, in the far northwest of South Africa.
The park is full of changing scenery, from flat, sandy plains to craggy, sharp mountains of volcanic rock and the lushness of the Orange River, which forms the border with neighbouring Namibia. The palate of colours that meets your eyes traverses the full range of golds and yellows to pinks and purples and then stuns you with streaks of the pure white quartz that is sometimes scattered on the ground like snow.
A 4-wheel-drive vehicle is advised for this terrain, or you can discard the vehicle altogether and take a strenuous guided hike lasting between 2 and 5 days through spectacular scenery. The summers are very hot and the campsites on the banks of the Orange River are close to heaven on Earth.
The harshness of the climate and terrain has resulted in one of the most unique ecosystems in the world: peculiar plants have evolved which can be seen nowhere else. Quiver trees stand stark against deep blue skies and the strange, phallic ‘halfmen’ always point north. A visit to this unusual national park is highly recommended.