The Richtersveld is a desert landscape characterised by rugged kloofs and high mountains, situated in the north-western corner of South Africa’s Northern Cape province. It is full of changing scenery from flat, sandy, coastal plains, to craggy sharp mountains of volcanic rock and the lushness of the Orange River, which forms the border with neighboring Namibia. The area ranges in altitude from sea level, to 1,377 m (4,518 ft) at Cornellberg. Located in the north-eastern side of the Northern Cape province in South Africa, the Richtersveld is regarded as the only arid biodiversity hotspot on earth and the majority of the area is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List due to its cultural values.
The Nama people of Richtersveld claimed title to their traditional land and set aside this conservancy for future research and tourism. 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. It has an area of 1,624.45 square kilometres (627.20 sq mi). This is a space for Nama people who live what is known as a transhumant lifestyle – where they migrate seasonally with their livestock and make use of a fragile succulent ecosystem. The community conservancy is bordered to the north by the Richtersveld National Park (managed by the Richtersveld community and the South African National Parks) the Nababiep Provincial Nature Reserve and designated community grazing areas that allow the Nama people to continue with their lifestyle.
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