Trip to Namaqualand and the Richtersveld
September 2001

Peter & Jocelyn Hers

For some years we have been talking about visiting Namaqualand to see the spring flowers.  The last time we managed to do this was in 1976, and most impressions of that trip have faded into the past.  So, now that we own a 4x4 vehicle, we started thinking about it again, and I got out the maps to start planning.  When I looked at the AA map in detail I saw that the northern part of the Cape was labelled as "Richtersveld (Use four-wheel drive vehicles only)".  What could be a better challenge?  So we started some research!

And found: Hot, hot, hot ....  Dry, dry, dry..... A parched mixture of desert and mountains, with only a few hardy succulents and lichens surviving the harsh climate!  A real wilderness area, with no facilities, and instructions to travel in convoy, carry all one's own fuel, carry enough water for a few days, etc. etc.  So we started planning in earnest.  We had to limit our trip to 9 days, and we were not sure about how we would cope with camping in the wilderness, but...  We got out the tent, checked the sleeping bags, bought a high-lift jack, bought a small spade ...  and after packing everything we thought we would need we set off at the beginning of September.

As you will see from the pages which follow, we somehow chose the best time of the year: The weather was certainly not hot, and in fact we had mostly cool days and some rain.  And the flowers ...  Well, have a look for yourself! This trip was a real adventure in more ways than one, and only served to set the scene for a bigger and better trip again in a year or two.  The pages cover the journey across the country, the travels around the Richtersveld region, and some magical displays of flowers.  For later reference, and for anyone interested, the last page includes a detailed route schedule, as well as the more important items from our travel packing list.

Note on photographs:  All the photos on these pages were taken with my trusty Pentax Spotmatic SLR 35mm camera, now about 35 years old, and recently cleaned and refurbished by an excellent agency in Randburg.  Film used was mostly Kodak 200 ASA.  Films were developed by First Photo, who provided images scanned directly from the film on a CD.



Route summary
Jhb - Johannesburg
Ku - Kuruman
Si - Sishen and Hotazel
Au - Augrabies Falls
Po - Pofadder
Sp - Springbok
Ka - Kamieskroon
PN - Port Nolloth
AB - Alexander Bay
R - Richtersveld National Park
Vi - Vioolsdrift

Index to pages

The following pages are quite large and contain many pictures.  They are designed to allow you to start reading the text while the pictures are downloading.  

The N14 - The route to the west
The Richtersveld - part 1
The Richtersveld - part 2
The Flowers - En masse
Individual flowers
Detailed route schedule
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