About Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape

Inscribed as a 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.

Did you know? There are over 6 350 vascular plant species in the Richtersveld of which nearly 2 440 are endemic to South Africa.

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 countryís 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.

Justification for Inscription

Criterion (iv): to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history.

Criterion (v): to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.

Need to Know

WhereRichtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, Namaqualand, Northern Cape, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

Telephone+27 (0)27 831-1506

OvernightStay in Namaqualand Accommodation, Northern Cape


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