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Arid Routes of the Northern Cape

The Arid Routes are made up of areas that have a unique feeling or offer the visitor a certain experience, and although each route is individual and sometimes incredibly so, there is always the unity of belonging to this dry region, where mammals and birds don't confine themselves to made-made borders (and far less to travellers' routes). So there is a constant ebb and flow of life between the routes and all of them shelter under the brilliant desert night sky of the South Africa's Northern Cape province.

Richtersveld Route 
A rugged mountain desert wilderness

Tiny villages inhabited by the Nama-speaking people are interspersed between surrealistically exposed mountains towering above wide-open sandy plains.
The Richtersveld is a place of stark surrealistic beauty. It has a unique and rare biodiversity and a stark yet beautiful coastline. Inland the quiver trees stand like sentinals, and along with the halfmens (half person) trees seemingly guard the tiny creatures and plants that survive in this harsh climate.
The traditional culture of the inhabitants is to be enjoyed. Visiting these hospitable and friendly people, and sleeping over in a village, is an essential part of any trip on this route.
 
The |Ai |Ais-Richtersveld Transfontier Park as well as the Richtersveld World Heritage Site are internationally known as alluring destinations for adventurous travellers. However to explore the route in its fullest you will need a rugged 4x4 vehicle.
Kokerboom Food and Wine Route
Quiver trees, rivers, boulders, farmstalls, towns and tastes
The Kokerboom Food and Wine Route meanders from Upington to Augrabies through the Green Kalahari region. Strewn with vineyards, it's home to the five cellars of Orange River Cellars, the second largest wine co-operative in the world processing over 140 000 tons of grapes each season. Dried fruit industries like raisins, peaches, apricots and plums, pecan nuts, citrus and dates are fast-growing industries too.
The self-drive route allows visitors to explore the customs, traditional cuisine and must-see attractions of the region finishing at the awesome Augrabies National Falls. En-route, visitors can enjoy Kalahari sushi, wine and brandy tastings, home-made cheeses, meat delicacies and much more.

The Red Dune Route
Farm hospitality mingled with wildlife experiences

Journey with us to a place where the smiles are genuine, the farms welcoming, the food is local and ‘lekker’ (delicious) and the wildlife area bigger than many a country. With 20 independent route members and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, this is one of South Africa’s premium outdoor experience destinations.

 
Flowing red dunes; herds of majestic gemsbok; pronking springbok; black-maned lions; colossal weaver nests; twisted camelthorn trees and endless horizons all form part of the allure of this wilderness. Numerous raptors circle these skies, searching out their prey. Birds such as the whitebacked and lappet-faced vultures, blackbreasted snake eagles, lanner falcons and the tiny pygmy falcons all commandeer this sky.
 
The Red Dune Route is a place with soul and it is said "Just as its warm red sand creeps between your toes, the Kalahari will take hold of your heart and draw you back time and again."
Karoo Highlands Route
One of the world’s most unique arid zones
The tranquil Karoo Highlands is the perfect place to relax, to recharge and to reflect on life itself. It is a prehistoric, fossil rich area, harbouring rare succulents and vast open farmlands where people have lived for over 500 000 years.
 
It is a made up of vast expanses of open plains tacked together by typical flat topped hills (koppies) and mountainous valleys. The vastness of the land, dotted with towns, is dwarfed by the expanse of heaven above - especially at night, when multitudes of stars shimmy to the sound of the universe. It's no surprise then that the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere is located here, in Sutherland. Well worth a visit, the South African Large Telescope (SALT) is not the only gem on the route. The Karoo is rich in Anglo-Boer War history and museums and relics abound. The history of the original inhabitants, the San people, has also been engraved on the land in the form of rock art. As you discover what the Karoo Highlands has to offer drop in at any of the small Karoo towns, such as Calvinia, Nieuwoudtville, Sutherland, Fraserburg, Williston, Carnarvon, Loxton and Victoria West. Each one has its own unique character.
Diamond Coast Route
A wild untamed coastline
Visitors to the West Coast or Richtersveld will find that a tour of the Diamond Coast will vastly enhance the experience of this unique mix of coastal plain and semi-arid inland areas. The route anchors around the Namakwa National Park and basic accommodation and campsites are available all along the route. A visit to Hondeklip Bay, Koingnaas, the Kleinzee Museum offers exhibits depicting the history of Namaqualand mines, shipwrecks, geological, paleontological and archaeological finds as well as a heritage display.