In August 2003 the governments of South Africa and Namibia signed a document that resulted in one of the most beautiful and remote transfrontier parks in Africa. The Ai Ais Richtersveld is a vast park and covers nearly 6000 km² of utterly untouched desert wilderness.
On arrival, visitors can be forgiven for thinking that they have landed on another planet. Millions of years of wind erosion and heat have sculpted some of the most unusual and unique desert landscapes. Accessibly only by 4 x 4 vehicle, the park is truly one of Africa’s last wild frontiers, and the seemingly endless desert-scape is both utterly eerie and breath-taking at the same time.
The park is particularly beautiful during the wildflower season, when annual rains turn the desert into a kaleidoscope of colours – a change so drastic that it can be hard to believe. The Namibian side of the park is home to the Fish River Canyon, Africa’s biggest, and the mighty Orange River runs through – making it the perfect place to start a white water rafting experience.
The park is home to around 212 species of bird, unique insects and many different species of reptiles like tortoises, snakes and lizards. While there isn’t currently a big wildlife population, the South African side of the park started a reintroduction project in 2007, and springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and zebra are now repopulating the region after over a century of absence.
The combination of incredible desert scenery, adventure activities like mountain biking and kayaking, beautiful wildlife and relative inaccessibility make this remote park one of the most exciting parks in Africa – and visitors will be left absolutely spellbound at its exquisite beauty.