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Easter Part 1: Potjiespram, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape

Place: Potjiespram, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, Northern Cape
Closest (significant) Town: Hmm…Alexander Bay? (110km)
Facilities: Rustic campsites with basic ablution facilities, cold water showers, no drinking water

Water: On the Orange (or !ariep) River (but cannot see it from the campsites) 

Surroundings: Rugged and dry Richtersveld Mountain Desert 

Turf: Dusty & sandy with most campsites nestled in the river bushes/trees for ample shade 

Distance from CT: About 898km 

Privacy: Considering the campsite layout, you can mostly find a secluded spot, but within the general vicinity of neighbours 

Highlights: Goats that roam, a potential hyaena roaming the river bank 

Cost: R155 per campsite per night (includes 6 people), R45 per day conservation fee (2011) 

Contact: www.sanparks.org 

GPS Coordinates: -28.076827,16.953278 


Orange River
Our campsite at Potjiespram

Our campsite at Potjiespram

Our campsite at Potjiespram

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&t=h&msa=0&msid=206881733232532953189.0004a25f0475d2910925e&ll=-28.367235,16.918945&spn=0.845865,1.167297&z=9&output=embed
View Potjiespram Camp, Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, Northern Cap in a larger map

Of the three camps we stayed at in the Richtersveld, I think this was my least favourite. This is why:

I didn’t like its proximity to Sendelingsdif (the official entrance to the park/border crossing/mining town) and the ugly Alexkor mine operations- a reminder that this remote landscape is not so remote, free and liberated from capitalist greed. I was secretly disgruntled that the road that continues along the river from Potjiespram is a no-go zone because of mining- another insult to a landscape that exudes freedom. I didn’t like that all the camps are nestled in the trees and bushes when a few metres away is the spectacular !ariep/ Orange River with a brilliant desert mountain backdrop. And admittedly, I got frustrated when those reliable evening winds blew all that fine dust into my everything.

But then, I’m particular. And have a confession.

In summer, those shady bush caves must be a godsend and at any time of the year they function as pretty damn good neighbour-proofing, not to mention their effectiveness at protecting eyes, ears, noses, tents, food, hair, water, beers, wine, everything from the dusty gusts of wind at dusk.

Sunset on the Orange River

Second, and in fairness, it’s just a short walk or drive to open river where you can set up day camp and stare, swim, absorb, feel, see and experience the very essence of the Richtersveld.




Our Campsite
My confession is that we chose the most open campsite precisely because it had the only access to a pristine spot on the river bank with uninterrupted views of everything I had gone there for, but which naturally made it slightly more vulnerable to dust showers.

It’s also convenient if you can’t decide whether to go left or right in Eksteenfontein, which results in an eventual arrival at a time of day not conducive to the 3-hour drive to your desired camp.


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