Near Cornellskop, you will find the Wondergat (Mystery Hole), known by the Nama as Heitsi Eibib, meaning ‘spirit’ or ‘emptiness’. It is a limestone sinkhole (pothole) celebrated in the mythology of the local inhabitants. A deep shaft leading straight down into the earth, some 4.5m in diameter, and almost perfectly circular. The vertical part is about 20m deep, and the tunnel then goes much further at an angle. Many connect the Wondergat to the ‘Big Snake’ and so it has inspired many stories and attracted intrepid explorers.
Some say the Big Snake can transform itself into a young maiden who lures men to the river to drown them, while the San believed the snake can kill with its breath alone. Through history, many who had spent significant time on or near the river had a story like this to tell. In the 19th century, the renowned prospector Fred Cornell had so much bother with a large snake like creature scaring his pack mules, that he attmpted to destroy it with dynamite. Apparently unsuccesfull, he threw several sticks of dynamite into a gulley where it had disappeared mid river.
Stories? One wonders!!
- Richtersveld National Park - Information Office
Contact this office to arrange activities in the National Park, including hiking, 4x4 and water sports.
- World Heritage Site administrative office
The administrative office for the Richtersveld World Heritage Site no longer directly arrange hiking, 4x4 driving, cycling and accommodation. Contact the Eksteenfontein tourism information centre - they can aso advise on the best route to take depending on your specific interests.
- Eksteenfontein Information Centre
The information centre takes bookings for Rooiberg, Kom Rus 'n Bietjie and the World Heritage Site. Can arrange a range of activities from hiking to cultural tours.
- Kuboes Cultural Groups
Johanna can arrange a variety of cultural events in the heartland of Nama culture
- See the Nama Stap
Lena can arrange for visitors to see and parttake in a traditional Nama stap dance
- Lekkersing Municipal Office
A good first contact for the Lekkersing area, incl stone mine, the Nama stap, horse riding and camping.
- Sanddrift Information
Story telling, see the Nama stap or listen to the Basotho Stars sing. Guides to see the Petroglyphs.
- Alexander Bay Museum and Tourist Information
Museum focusing on the diamond mining history of the area. Half day tour of restricted mining area on request.
- Port Nolloth Museum and Tourist Information
A wonderfully eclectic collection of natural and human history. Live terrariums.
- Richtersveld National Park Accommodation
5 campsites, as well as several camps offering self catering units. Hiking trail.