Conquering the Richtersveld

As the sun rises over the rough and rugged Richtersveld, our team gathers around the crackling open fire. The warmth of the flames casts a golden glow on our faces as we savour our coffee, eagerly anticipating the day ahead. The stillness of the mountain desert is suddenly interrupted by the distant rumble of a vehicle. All eyes are fixed on the horizon as the unmissable presence of a Scorpio N approaches the campsite. Our final team member, Tumelo, has arrived and what better way to welcome him than with a steaming cup of coffee, brewed to perfection over the fire?

With empty cups and palpable excitement in the air, it’s time to pack up and start our journey.

The Richtersveld, located in the Northern Cape of South Africa, is a unique and breathtaking landscape that is both challenging and rewarding. It’s where the past meets the present, where rugged beauty meets rich history, and where mystery and magic abound. And there’s no better way to conquer the harsh terrain and unlock its mysteries than in the Scorpio N – a highly capable SUV, engineered to be a robust, tough, reliable and extremely capable off-road machine that offers its driver the ability to unleash real adventure.

The sound of the mHawk engines and the crunching of rocks fill our ears as we take in some of the most spectacular views in the world. From the towering Tatasberg to the imposing Mount Terror, this region is home to some of the most awe-inspiring scenery. We are reminded why this remote and rugged terrain is a must-visit for any 4×4 enthusiast, as we navigate steep inclines, rocky terrain, and tight switchbacks of the thrilling Akkedis Pass – a challenge even for seasoned drivers.

As we venture 14 km down the road from Sendelingsdrift, we arrive at the Hand of God – a towering rock face believed to be marked by the hand of God himself. We are in awe of this unique and breathtaking sight, and feel a sense of reverence and wonder at the handprint etched into the mountain, appearing as if frozen in time.

After a gruelling morning navigating the scorching rocky terrain, we stop for lunch along the banks of the powerful Orange River, we listened to the symphony of rushing water and crackling firewood as we savoured the rich flavours of our jaffle braaibroodjies, roasting over the open flames. With every bite and every breath, our weary spirits were rejuvenated by the natural beauty and serenity of our surroundings.

The Richtersveld is not just about the off-road adventure, though. It is also a place to discover some of the world’s most unique and fascinating natural wonders. Near Cornellskop, you will find the Wondergat (Mystery Hole), a sinkhole filled with crystal-clear water. According to Nama legend, the hole was created by a giant snake called ‘Big Snake’. Big Snake lived deep in the earth and was said to be so big that its body filled the entire hole. It has inspired many stories and attracted intrepid explorers. Some say the Big Snake can transform itself into a young maiden who lures men to the river to drown them. The Nama people believe that Big Snake is still down there, guarding the hole and its secrets.

After lunch, we set our sights on the summit of Helskloof Pass. The ascent was rugged and steep, but we were determined to conquer it. As we reached the top, the view was breathtaking, but we couldn’t linger for long. The descent was waiting for us, and we had to be prepared. We shifted into low range, ready for the treacherous journey down the mountain. The road was slick, and the rocks were treacherous. We had to navigate through a section of slippery rocks and be mindful of the intermitted rock faces. This was no ordinary drive, but our highly capable Scorpio N’s ensured we were ready for the adventure!

As the sun started to dip below the horizon, we finally reached the much-anticipated De Hoop campsite. It was a place of rest and reflection, a chance to relive the thrill of our exploits, revel in the memories we made and make plans for the adventures that lay ahead.

As adventurers, we were always searching for new and exciting destinations to explore, and this time our journey took us to the very heart of South Africa’s most untamed wilderness. The final stretch of our journey took us here, on the brink of the Richtersveld World Heritage Site, another hidden gem, a place where the wild and rugged beauty of Africa meets civilization. This was Eksteenfoentein, a small town that was the perfect place for us to relive the excitement of the journey. We laughed, we cheered, and we shared in the triumphs of our adventure.

While this may be the end of conquering the Richtersveld, we know it will live on in our tales and one day we will be back once more.

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