Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape

Inscribed as one of the eight South African World Heritage Sites, Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is a remarkable mountainous desert

Northern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape

Inscribed as one of the eight South African World Heritage Sites in June 2007, the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is a remarkable mountainous desert in the north-west of the country that is uniquely owned and managed by the Nama community, descendents of the Khoi-Khoi people. It is a land of extreme temperatures characterised by a harsh, dry landscape.

Where? Namaqualand Region, Northern Cape

How? Call +27 (0)27 831-1506

Overnight? See Springbok accommodation, in Northern Cape

What is exceptional, both in South African and international terms, is that the community that runs the landscape has chosen to dedicate it to conservation. Up until recently the Nama had little to show for themselves. Their ancestors were pushed further and further north of the Western and Northern Cape - their land of origin - until only a few years ago when the Richtersveld area was returned to their ownership under the country’s land restitution programme.

The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is bordered by a number of areas, ensuring its further protection. These include the Richtersveld National Park, the Nababiep Provincial Nature Reserve, and designated communal grazing areas that allow the Nama to continue their semi-nomadic pastoral lifestyle.

Today the Nama people live in three small villages - Kuboes, Lekkersing and Eksteenfontein - just outside of the proclaimed area. The endangered Karoo vegetation, characterised by succulents, is protected by the seasonal migratory behaviour of the Nama, who move between stock-posts with traditional demountable mat-roofed houses called haru oms - a practice which has endured for about two millennia. The spacious communal grazed lands are a living example of a partnership between people and nature.

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