San rock engravings, known as petroglyphs, can be found in several places in the Richtersveld. It is thought that the ancestors of the San chipped these engravings on the black dolomite rocks and that the majority date back at least 2 000 years. Some engravings in the Northern Cape, however, are as old as 10 000 years.
Most of the Richtersveld engravings are geometric designs incorporating dots, spirals, grids, etc. These petroglyphs were said to be the results of the first stage of Shamanism - a trance like state. The ancient inhabitants would build themselves into a frenzy, mainly through dance, and the first stage was the interpretation of the unconscious. The patterns inscribed, therefore, are universal and belong to the collective human mind. The second stage of the trance was interpreted as animal designs that the inhabitants would see in everyday life. Only a few engraved animals have been seen in this area. The third stage would entail the entranced person becoming the animal in the vision, usually with dramatic and exhausting results.
There are guides in Alexander Bay, Eksteenfontein and Kuboes who are able to accompany visitors, to point out the locations of these messages from the past.
- 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
- Horse riding or donkey cart trips
- 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.
- Conrad Mouton Tour Guide
based in Port Nolloth, Conrad Mouton is a registered tourist guide and Winner of the Welcome Awards for Best tourist guide 2008.