Richtersveld National Park – South Africa

Camping is one of the most popular tourism activities anywhere in the world, and is usually seen as one of the best ways for families, love ones and small groups to spend memorable times together in a secluded yet natural environments, devoid of everyday human activities.

And in South Africa the best place to have this experience is at the Richtersveld National Park, located in north-east part of the Northern Cape Province of the rainbow nation.

The Richtersveld is a large desert land, situated near the South African border with Namibia and is geographically characterized by mountains, dry weather, sandy lands, rocks and few trees.

The river which runs through the area, the Orange River serves as the natural body which separates South Africa from Namibia.

Camping activities are usually held at the park by families and groups due to the uniqueness and quiet nature of the area. Even though many would argue there is nothing awesome about Richtersveld, it is one of the most unique landscapes in the world, recognised as the only arid biodiversity hotspot on the planet with a wonderful and stable weather that makes camping in the area enjoyable.

The 400,000 acres park is also home to some of the rarest plants in the world, with these plants being able to grow in the desert and rocky land.

The United Nations has declared the area a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Inside Kimberly: The Big Hole that Tells South Africa’s Diamond Mining Story

In the 1800s the people of South Africa, especially those living in the Kimberley area in the Northern Cape Province discovered that their lands were filled with the precious white metal called Diamond. The rest is history. A history that would become a core of South Africa for generation and centuries to come and one of such story is simply titled the Big Hole or Tim Kuilmine in Afrikaans.

The Big Hole perhaps is the best place to visit to really understand the story and history of diamond mining in South Africa. Regarded by many historians as the biggest and deepest hand dug pit in the world, the digging of the spot began in 1871 after it had been discovered to contain diamond.

Prior to that it was a farmland, however the discovery led to a mad rush and scramble for spot on the land. Within a short period of time, people from far and near were rushing to the area in a bid to mine diamond and enrich themselves.

This brought all the miners together to dig the land and search for diamonds individually. This worked well and went on for more than four  decades (roughly between 1871 and 1915) and by the time the mining activities had come to a standstill and the place closed down in 1914, more than 50,000 miners had taken part in the exploration, digging with shovels, hoes and picks for more than forty years.

The extent of the hole was measured at 790 ft deep from ground level and 462 metres wide making it one of the biggest hands dug holes in modern history even though some argue it is actually the biggest and not just one of the biggest.

Currently, the hole is filled with raining water and has become a major tourist attraction in Kimberley with tourists from far and near regularly visiting the site to see this huge whole with a unique story behind it.

Augrabies Falls National Park – South Africa

Augrabies Falls and National Park is a combination of a natural waterfall and an intentionally created national park, situated in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, near the city of Upington.

The park was first established in 1966 to complement the already existing rocky waterfall and make the site a complete tourist attraction where people could go and experience the beauty of the waterfall while at the same time being able to tour the vast land which constitute the park.

Unlike most waterfalls which are located in tick dense forests, Augrabies waterfalls is located in a very rocky area and situated on  a high landscape, surrounded mostly by desert-like land with few trees.

An African Red-Eyed Bulbul at Augrabies Falls National Park in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
An African Red-Eyed Bulbul at Augrabies Falls National Park in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.

The waterfall itself which runs through the top of the hill, among rocks and created by erosion activities which had taken place over a period of decades or possibly centuries, resulting in the large water run ways between the rocks on top of the hill.

In terms of geographic, Augrabie cover a total land size of 820 square kilometre with a waterfall that is about 60 metres high, forming an amazing natural fall, especially during the rainy season when there is flooding on top of the hill.

Due to the desert and rocky nature of the park, the tree population is not very impressive as compared to other parks in South Africa, nonetheless there are several botanic trees in the park which adapt to the unsuitable conditions and thrive.

The situation is same in terms of the animal population in the park with several species of animals who can perfectly adapt to the climate and dry nature found living there. These include the Gemsbok, Caracal, Black Rhinos, African Wild Cat and Fox.