Category “English – Richtersveld”

Richtersveld Tour – Part 1

Tuesday, 18 January, 2011


By PG Jonker

[Adapted version hereof published in Leisure Wheels, February 2011]


After returning from a Namibia tour where we drove up to Epupa with my Venture, I thought it a good idea to consider acquiring a 4×4. I had visions of me doing the great outdoors in my macho 4×4.  I’ve since realised that I lack the nerve for that, but fortunately I write a lot better.

So I set off in search of a 4×4. I found one, but first had to sell my Venture. I turned out that, when I was looking to buy my Venture, everyone wanted one, and when I eventually tried to sell mine, nobody wanted it anymore!

When at last I sold my Venture, the 4×4 that I had identified was also sold in the meantime, but not to me. So the search for a 4×4 started afresh.  Eventually I got an ex car rental Mazda Magnum DC 4×4.

So what now?  Have 4×4, better get driving.

Frikkie solved the problem by suggesting a trip to the Richtersveld.  Pieter and his family pitched in too, and off we went.


[Source: Map data ©2014 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]


After leaving Durbanville early in the morning we met up with Frikkie and his family at Vanrhynsdorp. Frikkie’s Hilux used to belong to a missionary outfit that travelled as far as Uganda with it. The elevated suspension gave the Hilux a real mean appearance. On Frikkie’s make shift roof carrier two bags of wood were evident, as well as the four legs of a steel frame chair protruding upwards. That was Frikkie’s home made porta potty. Pieter and his family would join us in the Richtersveld.

At McDougal’s Bay (Port Nolloth) we rented a house with garage. The reason for that was that I just had a burnt valve repaired on my brand new second hand bakkie, and the obligatory 1000km retorque had to be done. This Frikkie did before breakfast the next morning whereafter we departed for the Richtersveld.


We attended to a shop and a fuel station in Alexander Bay. At Alexander Bay we had to sign in at a security gate before entering the town. There was also a notice warning you that you might be requested to unpack your vehicle for inspection. Eish! Heaven forbid, given what our luggage looked like.

From there we travelled along the Orange River on a gravel road to Sendelingsdrift, the entrance to the Richtersveld. Not too far from Sendelingsdrift we turn off to have a look at the Wondergat. It is a hole some 40 meters deep. It was a rather nervous experience keeping the kids from not falling in. It’s not like it looks anything like Kimberley’s hole, but you might do battle getting out again once you have fallen in.

After attending to the formalities at Sendelingsdrift we were, at last, on a genuine 4×4 trip.  My first.  How cool is that, huh?

The first 7km or so were like an ordinary gravel road. From there it deteriorated initially to something similar to a farm road, and eventually to the point where the 4×4 functionality became very convenient, if not necessary. This was great fun.

Progress was hampered when one steep incline on the road caused Frikkie’s roof rack to partially slide off the roof and first had to be fixed.  But fixing stuff is mos Frikkie’s thing.

Here we also see the first halfmense grow. Being stingy with my pre-digital era photos I kept holding out for a better halfmens until eventually, I left the Richtersveld without a picture of a single one! After a leisurely 43 km drive we reached De Hoop.

We found quite a number of people camping there. There were, however, quite a few kilometres of river sites from which we could pick our site. We made camp right on the bank of the river.


At De Hoop the river runs in a Northerly direction. Because of mountains on both side of the river, the sunrises and sunsets are maybe not so spectacular. However, in the evenings the sun reflects orange on the river from the mountains on the Namibian side of the river.

We enjoyed a leisurely day. It was one of the kids’ birthday. Undeterred by our environment we had a birthday party, complete with a pot bread-cake and surprise packets for each kid.

The arrangements for sanitation were less than desirable. [I understand this problem has since been attended to by the Parks authorities.] It’s OK finding your spot and marking it to prevent others from having a close encounter of the fourth kind, but the following week’s visitors might not necessarily be fortunate enough to enjoy the same benefit.

Frikkie’s home made porta potty earned its keep.

I also utilised this invention on occasion. In my private little spot I became aware of a commotion in one of the trees.  A bunch of little apes were sitting in a row on an overhanging branch, watching me intently and chattering amongst them. I’m sure I heard the one say: “Hey, check that larnie toilet, ek sê.” I might be mistaken, though.

Between the three families we brought along 150 litres of drinking water, but ended up using the water from the Orange River after boiling it before use for human consumption.

Two of the boys spent hours trying to catch fish. The piece of washing line and bent nail utilised for this purpose, however, turned out to be unsuccessful. However, “success” is a matter of opinion. Keeping two boys out of mischief for hours on end in my book actually counts for a great success.


From De Hoop to the Tatas River picnic site there is a “road” of some 10km’s. There is also a 45km detour. After a bit of planning, we (well, some of us) opted for the more challenging shortcut.

This road is very powdery sand causing impressive dust clouds as far as we went.  It took half an hour to do the first 6km’s, where we stopped at a derelict fridge. It seemed like a left over from one of the many prospecting locations of earlier years.

The remaining 4 km’s also took about another …

Richtersveld – Part 2

Tuesday, 18 January, 2011

By PG Jonker


After two nights at De Hoop we departed for De Toon, 71km’s away. The route takes us through the Domorog pass. The road is narrow and steep with low range necessary. Or so we thought. When we got to the bottom of the pass a local farmer was waiting for us to pass so that he can drive up the pass with his ordinary Toyota bakkie. He explained that “with a bit of IQ” one can do it without 4×4 or low range.

Point taken, but I’m not sure how long such a 2×4 vehicle’s clutch and brakes could last.

We reached Springbok plain where the road stopped in the middle of nowhere, with a notice indicating the terrain beyond as being forbidden terrain.

From there we travel to Kokerboomkloof, past De Toon (the Toe), or also known as Eierkop (Egg head), due to the shape of the rock formation.

Here we also visit the Drumsticks rock formation.

Right opposite the Drumsticks there is another rock formation that looks like a turkey, watching over your shoulder.

At Kokerboomkloof we made camp. The name comes from the great many Quiver trees to be found there.

This time I took a few pictures of the Quiver trees, so as not to end up the way I did without a picture of the Halfmense.




[Source: Map data ©2014 AfriGIS (Pty) Ltd, Google]

We left De Toon early for the Helskloof gate, 71km’s away. We pass De Koei (The Cow) camping site. It did not strike us as very inspiring, and there were no-one there.

We left the Park at the Helskloof gate and headed for Peace of Paradise, next to the Orange River, but more East, nearer to Noordoewer. We visited Khubus.

We then passed through Eksteensfontein.

Just as we came out of the Helskloof pass Frikkie’s Hilux lost its rear right wheel with the half shaft being pushed out of the differential.

Four hours later Frikkie had the wheel fixed, and we were on our way again.

Peace of Paradise was a wonderful bit of paradise. Sadly it apparently burnt down a few years later and was not rebuilt.  Amazing how exciting people can be about flushing toilets after only a few days without it.


We set off from Peace of Paradise with Frikkie dictating the pace with the Hilux. Only a few kilometers away he saw that the rear wheel was again starting to push to the outside. After making enquiries as to the availability of a mechanic we (erroneously) ended up at the plot of Oom Hendrik van Zyl. Oom Hendrik happened to be a retired mechanic and auto electrician who used to do field repairs on Spoornet vehicles. Oom Hendrik had every tool necessary, and with the assistance of his son Christo the bakkie was back on the road in no time.

It turned out that Frikkie did everything right the previous night, but for the fact that he did not have a circlip that was necessary to finish the job. Oom Hendrik also did not have one, but he had a spring that he used to cut out a circlip. And off we went.

Frikke and we travelled in convoy, south bound on the N7. As Frikkie’s confidence in the final repairs of his wheel increased so did his speed until we did a handsome 90km/h.

In the meantime Pieter and his family had to leave to meet a deadline at home and was travelling ahead. However, their drive home came to an abrupt end with a head on collision with a Colt bakkie in the Piekenierskloof pass.

As Pieter came to a standstill the Nissan Sentra behind him also collided with him. After pausing a second or two to make sure there were no further collisions Pieter and Hanneke and their young son got out and put some distance between them and the stricken bakkie – very much aware of the full fuel tankd and jerry can on his roof rack. Fortunately no further calamities befell them or the vehicle.

By 19h00 that evening Frikkie and us made it to Vanrhynsdorp from where they headed for friends at Vredendal. An hour later we checked on Pieter and Hanneke at a guest house in Citrusdal before heading home.

Just past midnight we hit our beds in Durbanville.


Distance done: 2050 km

Petrol used: 307liters

Vehicle: 1998 Mazda Magnum DC 4×4

Engine: 3.4 liter V6 petrol

Power: 108kW @ 4800 rpm

Torque: 267Nm @ 2800 rpm

Fuel consumption for trip:

Average: 6,7 km / litre (14,9l/100km)

Worst: 4,8 km/l (4×4) (20,8l/100km)

Best: 8,7 km/l (11,5l/100km)

Nights out: 7 (1 x Port Nolloth, 5 x Richtersveld, 1 x Peace of Paradise)

Tent pitched: 3 times

Water used: 90 litres of drinking water over 5 days between 7 adults and 5 kids (and an estimated further 450liters of river water for washing and dishes)