In assocciation with Kalahari Wildlife Tours

Tour 31: 8 Days Richtersveld – Diamond Coast 4×4 Trails

This trail covers the longest 4×4 trail in South Africa, the Richtersveld and the previous restricted Diamond Coast.

Terrain: Tar & dirt roads, rocky & sand trails
Maximum vehicles on tour: 8
Total Distance: 2 110 km
Average travel time per day: 06 hrs
Trailers accepted


8 Days
7 Nights

DAY 01 Vioolsdrift
DAY 02 Ais-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
DAY 03 Ais-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
DAY 04 Diamond Coast
DAY 05 Diamond Coast
DAY 06 Diamond Coast
DAY 07 Diamond Coast


Mountain desert and semi-desert coastline. This is what this tour offers the visitor. The first section of the tour runs through the barren unforgiving Richtersveld to the South African side of the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. Impressive landscapes, fascinating desert plants and mountain trails await the visitor. Diamond mining history, shipwrecks and sandy trails are part of the Diamond Coast section, covering more than 400 km of the South African coastline from the Orange River to the Olifants River.

DAY 01 Upington – Klein Pella
Depart from Upington to Augrabies Falls National Park. En route we visit Tierberg Nature Reserve in Keimoes from where one has a beautiful view of the lush green Orange River Valley.

Visit the Augrabies Falls, which is the sixth largest waterfall in the world when South Africa’s largest river, the Orange is in flood. The word Augrabies derives from the Khoi meaning ‘place of great noise. Scenic – and game drive in this moon landscape-like land to awesome viewpoints such as Ararat, Oranjekom on the Orange River Gorge and the “Swartrante” (Black hills) from where one has a great view of this arid rocky desert landscape.

Although Augrabies is essentially a scenic park, game such as giraffe, springbok, gemsbok, eland, kudu red hartebeest, Hartman’s zebra and klipspringer survive in this unique riverine ecosystem. Fish eagles and black eagles are common residents.

Proceed on gravel road through the Northern Bushmanland to Klein Pella in the Pofadder area. Klein Pella is an oasis in the desert, being a grape export farm and having the largest date plantations in the southern hemisphere. Short tour of the farm activities.
Overnight: Klein Pella
Meals: B & D
Distance: 300 km
Travel time: 5 hrs

DAY 02 Namakwa –1 4×4 trail
Early start on the 4×4 Namakwa-1 Trail, following the Orange River to the west to the N7, passing the small communities of Witbank. Goodhouse and Henkries. Continue on the N7 via Vioolsdrift to Fiddler’s Creek on the banks of the Orange River.
Overnight: Fiddler’s Creek
Meals: B & D
Distance: 200 km
Travel time: 8 hrs

DAY 03 Fiddlers Creek – Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Depart on the Namakwa-2 4×4 Trail passing through the barren Helskloof and Nababiep Nature Reserve in the Nababiep Mountains and the remote villages Eksteenfontein and Khubus. Continue past the Richtersveld Conservancy to the Ai-Ais – Richtersveld Trans Frontier Park.

The Richtersveld Mountain Desert is regarded as the only true desert and one of the last wilderness areas in South Africa and was recently declared a world heritage site. The rainfall in some areas is less than 50 mm per annum. The Park nestles in a 100 km loop of the Lower Orange River, which forms the border with Namibia.

The Richtersveld is regarded as one of the world’s most prolific and richest succulent areas, nurturing 30% of South Africa’s succulent species, including 3 Quiver tree species and the very rare legendary “halfmens”. Although game is not the main attraction of Richtersveld Park, there is species such as the very rare Hartman’s Zebra, Grey Reebok, Klipspringer, Duiker, Steenbok, Leopard, Caracal, Black backed jackal, Baboons and Vervet monkeys. The park harbours a small number of indigenous people, who live their lives as goatherds, unchanged from the time when their hardy ancestors lived.
Overnight: One of the camps in the Park
Meals: B & D
Distance: 170 km
Travel time: 5 hrs

DAY 04 Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Explore the Richtersveld by 4×4 Trail and on foot. Return to camp.
Overnight: One of the camps in the Park
Meals: B & D
Distance: 100 km
Travel time: 7 hrs

DAY 05 Richtersveld – Diamond Coast
Depart to Alexander Bay. Visit the estuary at the Orange River mouth near Alexander Bay. This previous restricted diamond area is now open to public. The Orange River Wetland is declared as a RAMSAR site and is home to more than 60 bird species including pelicans and many flamingos. After a drive to the mouth we continue to the Lichen Hill. The Richtersveld vegetation has unique species with awesome adoptions to survive in its semi desert climate. One km outside Alexander Bay, a hill of 5 hectares is covered with lichen – the only one of its kind in South Africa. Lichen is neither plant nor animal, consisting of algae and fungi living together in symbioses. We visit this hill with a botanist as our guide.

Continue along the coastline via the small harbour town Port Nolloth. Visit the harbour with its diamond dredgers. Continue on the dirt road to Kleinzee on the West Coast. We enter the secretive, previously restricted diamond area owned by The Beers. Time at leisure for a coastline walk. Whales are very often seen close to the shoreline.
Overnight: Diamond Divers’ camp at Noup or Koingnaas Caravan Park camping
Meals: B & D
Distance: 340 km
Travel time: 5 hrs

DAY 06 Diamond Coast
Explore the Diamond Coast on the 37km Shipwreck 4×4 Route. Throughout the years the stormy Atlantic has prevented many ships to reach their destination. They found their final resting place at the coastline between Koingnaas and Kleinzee. The trail goes past three of these wrecks, the Piratiny, Arosa and Border, untouched beaches and other interesting sights.

Minimum of 8 persons are required for departure on these 4×4 trails. If less, clients have to pay the balance of R150 per person per trail.
Overnight: Diamond Divers’ camp at Noup or Koingnaas Caravan Park camping
Meals: B & D
Distance: 60 km
Travel time: 6 hrs

DAY 07 Diamond Coast – Hondeklip Bay
Explore the Strandveld 4×4 Route. This route goes through 1000ha of white sand dunes in a game reserve and crosses some challenging dunes.
Minimum of 8 persons are required for departure on these 4×4 trails. If less, clients have to pay the balance of R150 per person per trail.

Continue to Hondeklip Bay, which relies for its survival on a small crayfish industry and a few diamond boats operating from its harbour. This small remote seaside village has an unpretentious rural charm. Overnight: Hondeklip Bay
Meals: B & D
Distance: 60 km
Travel time: 6 hrs

DAY 08 Diamond Coast – Namaqua 4×4 Trail – Groenrivier
Visit the wreck of the Jahleel in the bay and the Aristea. Continue south on the Coastal 4×4 Trail to
Groenriviermond. The trail runs through impressive West Coast landscapes with excellent photographic
and bird watching opportunities, the including rare black oystercatcher. Stop at the Spoegrivier Caves
and at the estuary where the Spoegrivier mouths in the cold Atlantic Ocean. Afternoon at leisure in
Overnight: Groenrivier
Meals: B & D
Distance: 90 km
Travel time: 5 hrs

DAY 09 Groenriviermond – Upington
Depart on dirt road to Garies on the N7. (Self drive clients continue to their destinations). Continue to Upington via Springbok. End of the tour.
Distance: 590 km
Travel time: 6 hrs

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