Ai-Ais Richtersveld National Park
is made up of 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.
An international treaty, signed in 2003, incorporated the Ai–Ais Hot Springs Game Park in Namibia and Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park in South Africa, resulting in the establishment of the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park.
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.
One of the main features of the combined park is the world’s second largest canyon – the Fish River Canyon. 5 Things to Seek at Ai-Ais Richtersveld National Park:
• Rock Hyrax
• Ground Squirrel
• Jackal Buzzard
• Half-men (Half Human)
• Hartmann’s Mountain ZebraAccessibility at Ai-Ais Richtersveld National Park
At Sendelingsdrift, on the South African side, a pontoon has been established to ferry people and vehicles across the Orange River. The maximum carrying capacity is 6 Metric Tones or:
• 2 standard 4x4 vehicles without trailers
• 1 standard 4x4 vehicle with trailer
• 2 standard light motor vehicles with trailers
• 1 bus with a seating capacity of less than 20Hours
Summer and winter: 8:00 – 16:00 (weather permitting)
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.
Admission and overnight permits must be obtained at the park office at Sendelingsdrift before entering the park. Overnight visitors must arrive before 16:00
to reach camping sites before dark.
Single vehicles must sign an agreement to report back to park headquarters before departure.
Driving in the park at night is not permitted.Petrol and diesel at Ai-Ais Richtersveld National Park
Diesel and 97 Octane Petrol is available at Sendelingsdrift. Note that Lead Free Petrol is not available. The nearest supply of Unleaded Petrol is at Alexander Bay - 80 kmTelephones at Ai-Ais Richtersveld National Park
A Public Phone (Coin Operated) is available at Sendelingsdrift.
Cellular communication is not available in the Park.Accommodation at Ai-Ais Richtersveld National ParkSendelingsdrift
A new rest camp has been built which consists of ten chalets (4 x 4 bed units and 6 x 2 bed units).
All chalets are equipped with air conditioning, fridge and two plate electric stoves. All units have showers, front porches with views over the Gariep (Orange River) and there is a swimming pool in the camp. Tatasberg and Ganakouriep Wilderness Camps
Each camp consists of: 4 x 2-bed self catering units with showers, 12 volt lighting system, fridges and gas stoves (hot and cold water).
Please note that the water is not suitable for drinking and it is recommended that guests should provide their own drinking water. Camping at Ai-Ais Richtersveld National ParkPotjiespram
New ablutions have been built and showers (cold water only) are available. There are 18 campsites and an Environmental Education Centre where school groups can stay over in traditional Nama huts. De Hoop
This remains one of the most popular spots in the park and ablutions (cold showers) have been built to service 12 Campsites. Richtersburg
As for De Hoop, this camp, which lies on the banks of the river, has been upgraded with ablutions (cold showers) to service 6 Campsites. Kokerboomkloof
The 8 Campsites are serviced by Dry Toilets. No water is available on site and the nearest water point is at Richtersberg (32 km) away. Facilities at Ai-Ais Richtersveld National Park
No shops in the park, but fuel and cold drinks can be purchased at a small general store at Sendelingsdrift.
The shop is open on weekdays only.Important Notice
1. Accommodation rates do not include Conservation Fees
which are payable at the entrance gates.
2. Please ensure that you are familiar with the Rules & Regulations
of National Parks before making a booking.Please note
the pont does not operate in adverse weather conditions or if the river is in flood.
The quickest way to get to the Park from N7 (RSA) and B1 (Namibia) is to turn off at Steinkopf and approach via Port Nolloth and Alexander Bay with only the last 80km being on dirt.
- For those wishing to vary their route and get a broader picture of the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld the road from Vioolsdrift, via Kotzehoop, through spectacular scenery to Eksteenfontein and then on to Sendelingsdrift is one well worth traveling.
- The scenic route via Kuboes, Lekkersing and Eksteenfontein provides an additional dimension of what the region has to offer.
- Admission and overnight permits must be obtained at the park office at Sendelingsdrift before entering the park. Overnight visitors must arrive before 16:00 to reach camping sites before dark.
- The old pont at Sendelingsdrift has been restored and offers an unusual and convenient way of crossing the Garib (Orange) River that separates South Africa and Namibia. This way visitors can enter either Ais-Ais or the Richtersveld National Parks without doing the inconvenient 485km detour to cross from one side of the Park to the other at Vioolsdrift.
Facilities & Services:
Ai-Ais Richtersveld National Park Map:
Clothing & Accessories:
- Insect Repellent is strongly recommended
- Binoculars and cameras are a must
- Cotton sheets will keep insects at bay.
- Plastic refuse bags are essential as all rubbish must be removed on departure.
- Firewood and kindling may not be collected in the park.
- Gas cookers are recommended due to evening winds.
- Extra spare wheel, tools, spares, enough food and extra water containers are essential.
- Make sure that you always have a good supply of water. Fresh water is available at Sendelingsdrift.
- Do not sleep on the bare ground as the park is ideal scorpion habitat.
- Driving off indicated routes and outside camping sites is a serious offence. It is harmful to the park and dangerous to the visitor.
- Scarves protect against dust and wet towels from extreme heat. Provide clothing for extreme temperatures.
- No pets, generators or outboard motors permitted.
- Picking of plants, removal of seeds, rocks, crystals or driftwood is an offence.
Health & Climate:
Please note that heavy dew sometimes occur at night. The |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld climate is harsh and dry, with extreme temperatures of up to 53 degrees Celsius having been recorded in mid-summer.
Activities should be restricted to early mornings and late afternoons. Nights are cool, but may become chilly during winter.
Ai-Ais Richtersveld National Park Guest Reviews
Average Guest Rating:
out of 5
based on 15
reviews. - View all Guest Reviews
A wonderful 4 days in nature. Very good, I will do it again.
Rating: Reviewed by Petrus de Klerk over a year ago
This is a very different type of park and the emphasis is on the geology rather than the wildlife. 4x4 an absolute must. Great way to get away from it all.
Rating: Reviewed by Steve Edwards over a year ago
Wonderful time. Often visit the Richtersveld, but I think that the monkeys that invade tents searching for food at Pootjiespram needs some urgent attention.
Rating: Reviewed by Wayne Coram over a year ago
THe accommodation was rustic. No toilet paper in the toilets and cold water. However the abloutions were very clean. There are no assigned camping sites so you can pitch wherever you want. We had some idiots pitch camp right in front of the abloution block so everytime you needed to do something, you walked through their camp.
Rating: Reviewed by Rob Goldblatt over a year ago