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Namakwa 4×4 Route, Springbok to the West Coast

Namakwa 4x4 Trail Northern Cape, South Africa

Starting at Pofadder (165 km east of Springbok on the N14) and passing the picturesque Pella Mission Station, the Namakwa Route follows the Gariep (Orange) River 642km to the sea, giving you access to some of South Africa’s most beautiful semi-desert regions. This route is deemed to be one of South Africa’s best kept secrets, especially for those who like to get away from it all, and love camping out under beautiful starry skies.

You’ll cross Namakwa Brokenveld, False Succulent Karoo, Arid Karoo, Western Mountain Karoo, Succulent Karoo and Sandveld. There are three routes lasting 2-9 days.

By all accounts, the maps received after paying, are not very accurate, and as there are numerous tracks all over the fields, following the true ones needs a sharp navigator. The route is divided into two sections, giving you the choice of doing only one lap or both during your visit to the region.

Pella Mission, Northern CapeRoute 1, running from Pofadder to Vioolsdrif, can be done in a hasty two days or a leisurely 3 – 4 days. Communities along the first part of the route are Pella, Witbank, Goodhouse, and Henkries Adding another day to your itinerary, by taking a short detour to the Amam Dune Route, will give you the best of desert driving you can experience in South Africa.

Most of the first part of the route runs parallel to the Gariep River., with Pofadder as the starting point and Vioolsdrif as the end. Amam is situated close to Goodhouse and is great for sand driving if you have the time to do a detour. There are no supplies available at any of these spots.

Orange River Estuary, Alexander BayRoute 2, running from Vioolsdrif to Alexander Bay, can be done in one day, following the badly corrugated public roads, but it is more fun doing it in 2 to 4 days, exploring the unique mountain tracks of the Southern Richtersveld. This leg runs past Kotzeshoop, Eksteensfontein and Kuboes on its way to Alexander Bay. There are general dealer stores at all these settlements.

Always travel in a convoy of two or more vehicles, otherwise you may find yourself stranded deep in unknown territory if an unexpected break-down occurs. The best about this route is that although its feels as if you are out in the wilderness all the time you are never too far away from civilisation.

Although there are guest farms, serviced camping grounds and guest houses along the route, you will have to camp out in the veld at least once if you want to complete the entire route. This info is available after payment of the route fee.

Recommended accommodation at the start of Route 1; Karsten Farms’ Klein Pella Guest Farm (054 972 9712) and Pofadder Hotel & Chalets (054 933 0063).

Amam Dune Route & Guest Farm is halfway along Route 1 (027 752 5733).

Recommended accommodation at the end of Route 1 / start of Route 2 at Vioolsdrif; Fiddlers Creek (027 761 8953), Riverside Camp (027 761 8677) and Peace of Paradise – (extremely expensive) – (027 761 8968).

General dealer, ice, bottle store and fuel at Vioolsdrif; Rooiwalwinkel (027 761 8844).

Info received from Namakwa Tourism regarding accommodation along Route 2; Eksteensfontein Guest House (027 851 8772), Lekkersing Guest House (027 851 8580) and Kuboes Traditional Accommodation (027 831 1185).

Recommended accommodation at the end of Route 2; Brandkaros campsite and carlets (027 831 1390).

The route starts at Pofadder on the N14 main route. Routes maps and detailed descriptions will only be available after the payment of the route fee to Namakwa Tourism.

Bookings for the trail must be made at Namakwa Tourism. Tel: + 027 718 2985 / 6 E-Mail or Springbok Tourism: 027 712 8035/6: E-Mail.

The Mountain Desert Tour is a guided off-road experience. Although it starts and ends in Springbok, the trail officially begins in Pella and runs along the Orange River to Vioolsdrif.

More info on the quaint town of Springbok More info on the Namaqualand area