This rewarding trail combines the experience of 4x4ing in a mountainous desert region that has the highest diversity of succulent plants in the world whilst still having riverside leisure and camping with the chance for cultural interaction with locals.
The Namakwa 4x4 Eco Trail runs from Pella in the East to Alexander Bay on the West Coast and is divided into two packages that mostly run along the mighty Orange River within the Namakwa region of South Africa’s Northern Cape.
The Namakwa Package
Pella to Vioolsdrift
This part of the Eco Route starts at Pella, with its main entrance just off the N14 highway. Witbank is the next village after Pella with the legendary Groot Melkhoutboom campsite, where a gigantic tree becomes your host for the evening. After Witbank the route takes you to Goodhouse where you can camp at Ramansdrift on the bank of the Orange River.
The Richterveld Package
Vioolsdrift to Alexander Bay
The second part of the route continues from Vioolsdrift, the gateway of the Richtersveld, where you will drive through the towns of Eksteenfontein, Lekkersing, Kuboes, Sanddrif and exit the route at Alexander Bay, where the Orange River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
Full route and driving instructions will be sent to you once you book the trail.
If you're wondering where on earth
you will be heading off to,
take a look at our video first.
It'll give you some idea of the road conditions, the camping areas and some of the authentic experiences you can have on this awesome
4x4 Eco Trail.
Please remember this is an ecologically sensitive area.
Be aware of this and take care when driving and exploring.
You will receive a detailed brochure when booking
A few driving tips that will not only ensure a safe journey but also be ecologically friendly.
Engage four wheel drive as soon as you leave the tar road. This will ensure that traction will be maintained at all times and will lessen the occurrence of corrugation.
Deflate your tyres. There is no right pressure that will work for everybody, you need to determine the "sweet spot" pressure for your specific tyre manufacturer and make of car, but the same benefits apply as above. An indication is that normally a sweet pressure would be below 1.8 bar. It will also make for a much less bumpy ride and help conserve the road.
Drive as slow as possible and as fast as necessary. The chances of cutting a tyre or damaging your vehicle are much less. Avoid wheel spin, lift your foot off the accelerator to regain traction.
Do not leave the road or main tracks, as this is an arid dry area, new tracks are left and they do not disappear. Please be responsible.
If no description of a turn off is given, stay on the road that proves to be well travelled and do not panic. Refer to map and GPS co-ordinates often.
Please do not remove or damage any plants as it is illegal.
Do not gather any firewood; this is an ecological sensitive area.
Please respect other people along the way and be friendly with them, the shepherds have a lonely lifestyle and appreciate a bit of hello and how are you.
There are scorpions and snakes, please be careful.
Do take everything that you brought back, there are no rubbish dumps. Cigarette buds are rubbish that do not decompose.
Do not burn any plastics as the next camper wants to use the same fireplace, leave fire places in respectable condition.
Do not start new fire places, please adapt to the previous fire place.
Use the cat method - Make a hole and cover everything afterwards with sand except the toilet paper which needs to be burnt. In this desert area the paper can take up to 11 years to decompose.
A good practise is to plant a stick in the sand or leave a stone on top to indicate to others where you've been.
Please assist children, as setting the paper alight could be dangerous.
Never use any spring or river or even riverbed as a toilet, be at least 30 meters from water.
Do not use a place that someone else might consider as a good campsite.