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Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape

South AfricaNamakwa RegionRichtersveld


Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape 

This area, the Richtersveld, is a 160,000-hectare dramatic mountainous desert in northwestern South Africa as well as a communally owned and maintained cultural landscape. This site supports the Nama people's semi-nomadic pastoral lifestyle, following seasonal cycles that may have existed in southern Africa for two millennia. This is why the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. 

It comprises seasonal migrations and grazing grounds, as well as stock stations, and is the only location where the Nama still build temporary rush-mat dwellings (haru om). Pastoralists collect medicinal and other plants, and they have a strong oral tradition associated with various locations and geographical features.

The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape's vast communal grazing lands are a testament to land management techniques that have secured the preservation of the succulent Karoo vegetation, demonstrating a healthy connection between people and nature. Furthermore, graziers' seasonal travels between stockposts with traditional demountable mat-roofed houses/haru oms reflect a technique that was originally considerably more widespread throughout Southern Africa and has survived for at least two millennia; the Nama are now its last practitioners. 

(Source UNESCO)


  • South AfricaNamakwa RegionRichtersveld

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