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Best 7 Reasons To Visit Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park In Namibia And South Africa
The best 7 reasons to visit Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier park in namibia include; The Fish River Canyon, Unique landscape , Hotsprings, Birding, wild life, Search for the Halfmens at Halfmens Pass
Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier park is one of the most recently formed national parks in Namibia, It was formed in August 2003 by by the signing of an international treaty between South Africa and Namibia, combining the Namibian Ai-Ais hot springs game park and South African Richtersveld transfrontier park. It is a national park with great mountain desert wilderness beauty and is also regarded as the only arid biodiversity hotspot on earth
Early morning Atlantic fog rolls over the desert mountain range of the Richtersveld, bringing life-sustaining moisture to a myriad of succulent species in this inhospitable environment. This, the largest mountain desert park in southern Africa, consists of rugged mountains, rolling hills, undulating plains, and the adjacent floodplains of the Orange River.
Despite receiving less than 50mm of rain each year the Richtersveld nurtures about 30% of all South Africa’s succulent plants and it is also home to a variety of mammals that have adapted to this harsh climate. These include the leopard, Hartmann’s zebra, black backed jackal, klipspringer, duiker and rock hyrax (daisies) which are a favorite prey of Verreaux’s eagle that can be seen hovering over the vast blue sky. The park also has many other birds.
The best 7 reasons to visit Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier park are;
Wild life in Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
There are a number of wild animals which can be found in this transfrontier park but these are animals which can withstand the Aris climate but most of the wild animals in Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier are mostly concentrated in the denser vegetation which is around the orange river. It has animals such as Hartmann’s mountain Zebra which live in small groups of seven to twelve, Chacma Baboons, Steenbok, Klipspringer, grey rhebok, common duiker, Vervet monkeys which is one of the best 7 reasons to visit Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier park
2. Unique landscape of Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier park has some of the most spectacular arid and desert scenery in south Africa and it gives a spectacular feeling where one will be captivated by the starry canvas which emerges as soon as the sun sets over the mountains. The arid landscape and tranquil atmosphere sets the scene for the perfect stargazing experience. because Ai-As Richtersveld transfrontier park contains the world’s richest desert flora there are these towering quiver trees that are so tall out into the sky amid stark landscapes are a sight to witness in African national parks in south Africa’s Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier park.
3. Birding at Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier park has over 200 recorded bird species with about 23 species restricted to south Africa such as the only breeding pair of augur Buzzards are only found here and others are Cape bunting, Cape weaver, Fairy flycatcher, Cape francolin, Karoo eremomela, Cape long-billed lark, Capped wheatear, Cinnamon-breasted warbler, Ground woodpecker, Karoo lark
4. The Fish River Canyonat Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Being the second-largest natural canyon in the world and also being eroded over many years, Set in a harsh stony plain, dotted with drought-resistant succulents such as the distinctive quiver tree, kokerboom, Aloe dichotoma, and Euphorbia gregaria, the canyon is a spectacular natural place found in the Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier park and it took hundreds of millions of years to evolve.
While its full length is 160 km, the width goes up to 27 km and its depth up to 550 meters and its most spectacular section is the 56km stretch between the northernmost and southernmost viewpoints and because the river flows intermittently there is always water in some of the pools except in very dry years.
The Canyon Contains small and largemouth yellow fish, tilapia, sharp tooth, catfish, and common carp, the pools are also frequented by the water monitor or leguaan.
5. Search for the Halfmens at Halfmens Passat Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
One can take a slow drive through Halfmens Pass to spot the peculiar-looking halfmens succulents w..hich are endemic to the area.
6. Hotsprings at Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
As the name of the park its self stands for burning water in the local language of the natives which means it was named after the hotspring which are found in this area and also the waters in this area are believed to bear ingredients which cure diseases
7. Hand of God at Ai-Ais Richtersveld Park
The locals at Ai-Ais Richtersveld park believe that God pressed a hand down on this rock face in the Richtersveld which left his handprint on the mountains. Therefore just down the road from Sendelingsdrift this peculiar sighting right can be found just next to the road.
The Animals Found In Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
In the national park there are predators which include Leopard, caracal, brown hyena and black-backed jackal. Other animals include klipspringer, grey rhebok, steenbok and common duiker. Vervet monkey and chacma baboon among others.
Activities Which Can Be Done At Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
There are a number of activities which can be done at Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier Park and these include;
Visiting the nursery
The nursery hosts a number of rare and endemic plants and many of these are found nowhere else in the entire world.
the sight which emerges as soon as the sun sets over the mountains as a sight to witness by one himself because it is very captivating, Having a picnic on the banks of the Orange River
There are a number of Mountain Bike trails available and hikers can use them to explore the park or they can use their foot, There are Guides are available to lead hikers along one of the 2, 3 or 4 day trails. These trails are only accessible between April and September. The 5 day hike through the Fish River Canyon, ending at the Ai Ais hot springs is a highly recommended activity.
Crossing the river on a Pont
The restored pont offers an unusual and convenient way of crossing the Orange River that separates the two countries.
Rafting on the river are also very popular activity to enjoy at Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier park .
Watching the sunset
It is a great experience to watch as the sun sets over the mountains of Namibia on the other side of the river.
When to visit Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
The best time to visit Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier park entirely depend on what the visitor is most interested to see and do and the park experiences two major seasons which are;
The wet season
The most preferable season to visit Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier park is in the cooler period which usually starts in May and end September. In this season is also when there is enough rain which make wildflowers bloom and that is mostly from August to September making a colorful landscape which is very pleasing sight to behold. There’s little wildlife viewing in Ai-Ais Richtersveld, so this isn’t really a factor in the timing of your visit
The dry season
The hotter months at the park start in October and usually end in April, In this hot season is when birding is at its best. But those interested in wild life and viewing the tremendous beauty of Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier park should avoid the hottest months of the year and these month are also very hot.
How to access Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Because Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is situated in two countries which are South Africa and Namibia. The visitors can access it from both countries however most of the visitors access it through Namibia through Hosea kutako international airport which is located only 40km in the East of Windhoek where visitors can rent a car and this is mainly for the international visitors.
Because of the park’s strategic location being in two countries, the Sendelingsdrift pontoon takes cars across the border to cross the Gariep (Orange River) from the Richtersveld in South Africa to the Fish River Canyon and Ai-Ais hot springs on the Namibia side. It acts as a proper border crossing, so all the visitors have to get their passport stamped to grant them authority to cross to the other country.
From the South Africa visitors are able to cross the Orange river with their vehicles via a point at Senglesdrift into the Namibian side of the park. Likewise, visitors have access to the South African side of the park from Namibia.
The Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier park is mostly a self-drive destination this is especially on the South African side although organized tours are also available.
The park is not accessible with an ordinary car like 2WD car instead a 4WD vehicle is preferred, but with high clearance pickup and even driving in convoy is recommended. On the Namibia side fly-around-tours with chartered planes are very common and the Fish River Canyon can be part of the visit.
Accomodation at Ai-Ais Richtersveld Park
Visitor at Ai-Ais Richtersveld transfrontier park have a variety of options when it comes to choosing a place to sleep
The park has a number of camping sites and they are all well facilitated and they include;
The wilderness camps of Tatasberg and Gannakouriebare fully equipped, self-catering camps (although you need to bring your own drinking water at Gannakourib) and at Sendelingsdrift there are 10 self-catering units and a swimming pool. The four surrounding Richtersveld community towns also offer unique new accommodation establishments.
Ai-Ais hot springs Chalets
It offers outdoor heated pool with nearby hiking options up the Canyon and it also a place where one can see the orange river from the comfort of their beautifully constructed lodge.
Frequently asked questions about Ai-Ais Richtersveld Park
What is the history of Richtersveld National Park?
Richtersveld transfrontier Park is one of the most recently formed national parks in Namibia as it was formed in 2003 but the northern part of the area was proclaimed in 1991 after 18 years of negotiations between the National Parks Board and the local Nama people who continue to live and graze their livestock in the area. The Nama people of Richtersveld claimed title to their traditional land and set aside this conservancy for future research and tourism.
How big is Richtersveld National Park?
Richtersveld transfrontier National Park park is on an area of 1,624.45 square kilometers (627.20 sq. mi).
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