Orange River, Groot Melkboom
If you’d enjoy spending a night or two along the Orange River banks, you’d probably be interested in the Namaqua 4×4 Eco-trail.
The Namaqua 4×4 Eco-trail traces the Orange River from Pella, all the way to where it reaches the cold Atlantic Ocean, which lies between Alexander Bay and Oranjemund.
The trail can be divided into two stages:
The first stage is 328km’s and stretches from Pella to the Vioolsdrif border post. Here you’ll find three stunning, informal camp sites, which snugs the banks of the Orange River. There is no more than a big tree to camp under and no facilities except for the river in which to bathe and wash.
The second stage is 284km long and stretches from the border post to the river mouth. During the trail, you will need to take a detour into the Richtersveld National Park. Here the mountains rise up from the desert as you move away from the river. The De Hoop camp site is considered the most popular camp site in the park. Even though you are in a desert, you’ll come across a remarkable assortment of plant life. The unusual halfmens trees and quiver trees are unique to this and well worth a browse.
“…this section has some breathtaking mountain tracks and viewpoints.”
The Namaqua Eco-trail begins with Charlie’s Pass and takes you from Pella to the river. You know you are at Klein Pella (the largest date farm in the southern hemisphere), once you see some date trees and the road begins to veer away from the river. The most popular part of the trail is the Groot Melkboom camp site, which lies about halfway between Pella and Vioolsdrif.
Kamgab is another great campsite, to get there you will need to take a 20km detour, which snakes its way through a very impressive kloof, running along the dry bed of the Kamgab River. This is a very remote track that very few take.
Just before you reach Vioolsdrif, avoid the turn-off called the Road to Hell – unless you’re fancy a technical drive, are experienced or in a convoy as this is a rocky and rough road. It can also take several hours to get to the river.
The trail steers away from the Orange River and rounds the southern end of the Richtersveld National Park. There are three camp sites as you make your way to the river mouth: Spitskloof, Bakkrans and Tierhoek. These campsites do not lie next to the river, but the stunning viewpoints and mountain tracks make this track worth the while – the Kristalberg loop is the best of them. Finually you’ll reach a T-junction where you turn right for the Richtersveld and then left towards Alexander Bay, where the trail ends.
Tel: +27 (0)27 712 8035/6
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