Pronounced 'reem fuss mark', meaning 'tighten the strap', the conservancy is the very first land restitution story. In the 1960s there was a rather callous enforced removal of the residents of this beautiful mountain desert wilderness – mostly Damara and Koranna Khoi tribes - by the then Apartheid government, so that the land could be used as a military training facility. Roughly 1500 people were divided into three groups according to their 'racial' classification and sent to either Welcomewood in the Ciskei, Khorixas in Northern Namibia, or the nearby towns of Marchand, Augrabies and Keimoes.
A little after 1994 the current government chose to return this land to the children of the original residents. Today they have to contend with the negative impact of the military activity, which might not have left significant ecological damage, but the debris remains as a constant reminder nonetheless. That is only half the story. Those who have returned have also had to develop the land and rebuild the community.
Development has been slow at Riemvasmaak Community Conservancy. Electricity arrived only in 2002, whilst a large portion of land was placed under vine to produce raisins around the same time. Ecologically, the conservancy is beautiful. The black eagle breeds here, the fish eagle is often sighted, camel thorn, quiver trees and shepherd's trees (witgat) dominate the horizon, and delicate flowers put in an appearance virtually all year.
To attract visitors the community have designed a series of hiking and 4X4 trails, as well as making use of the natural hot springs of the area for which they have built a couple of pools surrounded by 80 metre high granite cliffs.
Popular Activities in Riemvasmaak Community Conservancy
Riemvasmaak 4x4 Trails
The Riemvasmaak 4x4 Trails comprise three separate routes, all of which are circular, varying in difficulty. These cover different distances. The Molopo trail is 41 kilometres long and takes between three and four hours to complete. The Perdepoort...
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Riemvasmaak MTB Route
Riemvasmaak Community Conservancy offers 7500 hectares of mountain biking bliss. This phenominal area has 3 varied 4x4 trails as well as a dedicated mountain biking trail to ride on and the different circular routes vary from 6 to 71 kilometers...
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Riemvasmaak Hot Springs
The Riemvasmaak Hot Springs, which invite visitors to relax in the natural wonder of these therapeutic waters. Cliff faces surround the springs, towering 80 metres over those that are delighting in the warmth of the waters below. Two swimming...
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Contact Riemvasmaak Community Conservancy on telephone +27 0)83 873-7715.
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