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LOCAL TIME: 03:07 pm | Wednesday, 29 March
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The Diamond Coast Hiking Trail, Koingnaas – Kleinzee

For many decades totally inaccessible to the public (except diamond smugglers), the Northern Cape’s Diamond Coast has been shrouded in mystery. Only recently has the owner of the land, the De Beers mining company, opened up this area to the public – with restrictions of course – it is still an active mining area. It is also a wild, undeveloped coastline of exceptional beauty, dotted with shipwrecks and full of natural treasures.

The 3 day Diamond Coast Hiking Trail traverses dramatic coastline, white dunes and coastal interiors that are dominated by space, sand and succulent plants. The biome is called the Strandveld (Beach Bush), and it is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. 40% of the succulent species found here are endemic, and some species are endemic to areas as tiny as 100 square metres. The fauna of the coastal ranges from dwarf puffaders (the world’s smallest viper) to brown hyena and antelope, but it is the dune hugging hardy floral biodiversity that attests to what happens to the state of undisturbed nature.

The Diamond Coast Hiking Trail is a collaboration between De Beers and the Namaqua National Park, but is run by De Beers

The 65 km guided trail starts at Koingnaas and ends at the mining town of Kleinzee, north of Koingnaas on the coast.

Tents and ablution facilities are provided, but you need to bring your own sleeping bags, food and refreshments. This is technically a ‘slackpacking trail’ as all your provisions and equipment will be transported from tent camp to tent camp for you by 4X4.

A bonus at the end of the hike is a tour of the diamond mine and a small diamond mining museum at Kleinzee.

This trail must be booked well in advance in order to obtain security clearance, and though you may not pick up a diamond, parts of the trail feature visible chert, jasper, epidyte and garnet deposits.

More on the Coast of Diamonds

Getting there: To get to Koingnaas, take the N7 south from Springbok, turning right after 13.7km.

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