Richtersveld National Park, South Africa

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Richtersveld National Park

The Richtersveld National Park is a spectacular mountain desert. Situated in the north by the curve of the Orange River , the terrain is undulating and rugged, distinguished by wind-sculpted rock formations, there are lush green areas of irrigated land but that which is not irrigated is reddy brown and bone dry. The park encompasses 162445 hectares of rugged terrain and was proclaimed on 16 August 1991. In the park, which is inhabited only by small groups of Nama, you will find singular vegetation with innumerable species of succulents.

This is the only place where the remarkable halfmensboom (half-person tree) grows. The top of this succulent tree consists of a bunch of thick, wrinkled leaves that look a bit like a human head, the unusual appearance being the inspiration for its name. The climate in the Richtersveld is extreme with summer temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius regularly. Rain is a rare event. Plants and animals get moisture primarily from the sea fog and the Heavy night time dew occurs in the park.

The Richtersveld National Park is not fully equipped for general tourism. A four-wheel drive vehicle is necessary to travel through the Richtersveld National Park . Especially difficult are some steep and rocky mountain roads and some sandy river crossings. You are required to check out at the office by the gate and check back in that evening. As only a few small groups at a time are admitted to the reserve - to protect the delicate ecosystem - booking your trip is advised. Maps are crucial for a drive through the Richtersveld National Park, sign posts have not yet been put into place.

During your trip to the Richtersveld National Park you could see klipspringers, Hartmann's mountain zebra, baboons, vervet monkeys, meerkat, rock dassie, aardwolf, caracal, leopard, brown hyenas, bat-eared fox leopard, pangolin, porcupine, silver Fox, genet, steenbok, duiker and other antelope.

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