About Richtersveld Donkey Trail

Start: De Hoop campsite, Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Finish: Hakkiesdoring hikers' camp
Level: Intermediate
Type of route: jeep track and donkey trail (hence its name), reserve roads, sand
Distance: 38 km, 3-5 hours to complete
Cell reception: none

The Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, one of South Africa's 8 Peace Parks, straddles South Africa's Richtersveld National Park and Namibia's |Ai-|Ais Hot Springs Game Park.

It's a harsh landscape of rugged kloofs, craggy mountains, extreme heat and rock formations that remind one of the moon. Giant tree aloes and curious halfmens (endemic stem succulents), quiver trees and little succulents hug the edges of cliffs - and its hiking and MTB trails along its back roads are as dramatic.

This is mountain biking heaven - over a few hundred kilometres of trails on both sides of the Orange River, although for this well known ride (the Donkey Trail) it's a good idea to base yourself close to the De Hoop campsite.

The Donkey Trail is part of Day 6 of the Desert Knights MTB Adventure.

Leave the campsite climbing slowly to the first left-turn jeep track (R5 - 7 km), which takes you in the direction of Maerpoort Pass (12 km) with incredible views from the top.

You then career down a corrugated hillside, until you reach the R6 where your first Donkey Trail sign emerges and you turn right.

Jacques Marais recommends doing this section in the dark on a full moon night to experience the 'hallucinogenic effect' of the next 8 km, in amongst a series of rocky kopjes, until you intersect again with the main road (24 km).

Keep right and prepare for what sounds like the most difficult section - 4 km riddled with deep pockets of sand, followed by further sandy stretches and a corrugated ascent, before turning right at R17.

The last few kilometres bring you to Hakkiesdoring (book accommodation ahead).

Need to Know

WhereStart at De Hoop campsite, Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and finish at Hakkiesdoring hikers' camp.

WhenBest during daylight hours.

How muchFree

OvernightThe closest town is Port Nolloth, in Northern Cape


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