Ai-Ais Richtersveld Nat. Park

|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park

An international treaty, signed on 1 August 2003, incorporated the |Ai-|Ais Hot Springs Game Park in Namibia and |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld National Park in South Africa, resulting in the establishment of the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park. This is the largest mountain desert park of South Africa, and nurtures 30 % of all South Africa´s succulent plant species. One of the main features of the combined park is the world´s second largest canyon- the Fish River Canyon.  

At Sendelingsdrift, on the South African side, a pontoon has been established to ferry people and vehicles across the Orange River.


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|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park

Conjure up a desolate and forbidding landscape, seemingly devoid of life, except for some people dotting along the horizon. Make a startling discovery upon closer inspection when the mirage dissolves into the human-like half-mens (half person) and the harsh environment prove to be a treasure-chest containing the world’s richest desert flora. Miniature rock gardens, perfectly designed by nature, cling precariously to cliff faces. Tiny succulents, mere pinpoints against a backdrop of surreal rock formations, revel in the moisture brought by the early morning fog rolling in from the cold Atlantic Ocean.

Rugged kloofs, high mountains and dramatic landscapes that sweep away inland from the Orange River divulge the fact that you are now in the vast mountain desert that is the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld National Park, an area managed jointly by the local Nama people and the South African National Parks. This is a harsh and unpredictable land where water is scarce and life-sustaining moisture comes in the form of early morning fog – called ‘Ihuries’ or ‘Malmokkies’ by the local people – which rolls in from the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, sustaining a remarkable range of small reptiles, birds and mammals. A staggering assortment of plant life, some species occurring nowhere else, is to be found here, with gnarled quiver trees, tall aloes and quaint ‘half-mens’ keeping vigil over this inscrutable landscape.

The park is only accessible by means of a 4x4 vehicle, but vehicles with high clearances such as combi’s and LDV’s do travel in the park. Sedan vehicles are not permitted. There is no specific route that can be booked in advance.

Special features
Rock Hyrax.
Ground Squirrel.
Jackal Buzzard.
Half-mens plants ( Half Human ).
Hartmann´s Mountain Zebra.

Wildlife
Porcupine, Ground Squirrel, Caracal, Honey badger, Klipspringer, Gemsbok, Rhebok Grey, Steenbok, Duiker Grey, Striped Polecat.
Birds
Ostrich, Kori Bustard, African Fish Eagle, Hamerkop, Greater Flamingo, African Spoonbill, African Crake.
Plants and trees
Bastard Quiver Tree, Half-Mens, Quiver Tree, Prenia Tetragona, Cleome Foliosa, Codon Royenii.

Activities
Bird watching and Guided trails.

How to get there.
The park can be reached via Springbok, from there follow the N7 to Steinkopf, Port Nolloth, and Alexander Bay and then turn onto a gravel road leading to Sendelingsdrift / Reuning.

Accommodation
Main Rest Camp; Sendelingsdrift Rest Camp.
Wilderness Camps; Tatasberg Wilderness Camp,  Gannakouriep Wilderness camp.
Campsite; De Hoop Campsite, Richtersberg Campsite, Kokerboomkloof Campsite, Potjiespram Campsite, Hakiesdoring ( only for Groups ).  All these campsites are 4 x 4 destinations. 

The above presentation of the park, is a contribution from © SANParks.org 2004-2009.