The Riemvasmaak area (northwest of Kakamas
) borders the Augrabies Falls National Park
to the east and is as remote as its name is unusual.
Two rivers, the Orange and the dry Molopo cross the area. Ragged desert mountains, plateaus and valleys depict the story of great volcanic activity millions of years ago.
In terms of the apartheid policies of the previous government the people of Riemvasmaak – Xhosa, Nama and Coloured – were forcefully removed in 1973/74 to Namibia and the Eastern Cape.
Between 1973 and 1994 the South African Defence Force utilized Riemvasmaak as a training ground. The section known as Melkbosrand was incorporated into the Augrabies National Park. The South African National Park ran a breeding program for the Namibian black rhino on the 4000ha.
Efforts to bring the people of Riemvasmaak back to their land got momentum in 1993. It was one of the first land resititution projects in the New South Africa. Most of the original residents were back on their land at the end of 1995.
About two thirds of the people of Riemvasmaak belong to the Nama culture and live at the mission station. The Xhosa grouping live at the Vredesvallei settlement on the banks of the Orange River.
In 2002 the people of Riemvasmaak get the deeds to the plots they live on – a milestone for those who were landless for so long.
Riemvasmaak offers the tourist a variety of activities as well as breathtaking, rugged beauty. Accommodation is available in comfortable chalets.Tourist Facilities
* Three 4x4 routes that include sand and rocky driving.
* Three hiking trails for the average hiker
* Mountain bike route with sand and rock terrain
* Bird watching – Black Eagle, Namaqua Dove, bird list available
* Hot spring
* Trained guides available – book at office
* The people of Riemvasmaak take pride in preparing traditional meals and performing dances in traditional dress. Book at the office.4x4 Routes
The three trails offer a variety of 4X4 experiences ranging from easy going to extremely challenging. The routes cover approximately 160 kilometres. Various lookout points offer scenic views of the mountains and plains. Of particular beauty is the spring in a deep ravine with cliffs towering 80 metres overhead.
The routes offer a variety of experiences, from deep sand to steep and very rough trarks, deep dongas and rocky plateaus. Picnic and overnight spots are available on all the routes. Although the best time for a visit is between March and October, it should not deter the visitor from visits during the other months of the year.
In summer, albeit hot, cool breezes are almost always present in the ravines and along the riverbanks while the winters are quite mild.
Strange and unexpected plant species are abundant in the area. Most prominent trees are the white-stemmed Shepherd's tree, majestic camel thorn tree, wild fig tree and many quiver tree species. Riemvasmaak is a breeding area for the black eagle, fish eagle and many other raptor species. Contact
Private Bag X10
Tel: +27 54 337 2804
Faks: +27 54 337 2894 (mark clearly for Riemvasmaak)