The Richtersveld World Heritage Site
A quick overview of the Richtersveld World Heritage Site - previously called the Community Conservancy - also a good visual…
The first rains
The first rains of the season in the Richtersveld and the resulting carpets of flowers.
Unique plant adaptions
A quick tour of some of the unusual plants that can be found in the Richtersveld, showing how they have…
An overview of the broader Namaqualand region.
Unique plants, animals and geography
The Namaqua rain frog
The Namaqua rain frog was first spotted near Port Nolloth in 1926, just after the first diamond had been found there. This frog prefers to hide from snakes under the sand and needs no water during the tadpole stage.
Plants that shrink, hide and swell…
Plants in the Richtersveld have developed the most extraordinary adaptation strategies to the harsh climate. Some store water in large 'bladder' cells on the surface of their leaves or swell quickly when there is moisture, others stay underground in the form of bulbs, and others develop white scales to reflect the sun rays or grow tiny sticky hair to trap sand grains as a protection against the wind.
Mysterious home of the big snake
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.
Half human trees
The Nama people tell the legend of the 'halfmens' tree. It is said that the ancient Nama people that fled from Namibia southward to this region were transformed into these half human trees. The 'head' of these trees always faces the north and is a reminder of those people looking longingly towards the beloved land they left behind.
The !Gariep, or ‘Great River’.
!Gariep, meaning 'Great River', is its Nama name. The Orange River is the only perennial river in the region. It traverses almost the entire continent to end in what feels like an oasis in the desert region of the Karoo and Southern Namib. Its rich biodiversity and the shelter it provides for threatened bird species have made it a Ramsar Site'a Wetland of International Importance.
A hill covered in only orange and green lichen
A mat of lichen stands out starkly in the desert environment. The Lichen Hill is covered in moss-like lichen in bright orange, greens and browns. Sustained by the mist that creeps in from the Atlantic over the semi semi-desert coastal plains, this hill has developed the highest biomass and diversity of all known lichen fields and is of huge interest to ecologists.