Website Category: Traditional Cultural Landscapes
Area: 1,600 km2
Criteria: (iv) icon of an era (v) interaction with the environment
Location and Values: The Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical landscape is located in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, along the Orange River border with Namibia. It is an area of semi-desert, in which the Nama people still practice a form of transhumance, moving seasonally with their livestock to suitable grazing areas. The Nama are the direct descendents of the original Khoi-Khoi people who lived across much of southern Africa in the millennia before the arrival of Europeans and African Bantu tribes. Their lifestyle, moving between stock outposts and living in collapsible reed-mat houses, would have been typical of peoples across the semi-arid lands of southern Africa, but is now limited to this relatively small area. This form of traditional stock management has not only enabled people to live in this hostile environment, but has also contributed to the protection of the diverse Succulent Karoo vegetation.
Slideshow of the Richtersveld Cultural And Botanical Landscape: The slideshow (featuring photos from the South African World Heritage Site photo library) includes a wide selection of (56) photos covering the landscapes and people of the area. The traditional method of constructing the dome-shaped collapsible homes using a frame of flexible sticks and reed mats is illustrated, alongside the more modern structures, materials and equipment – corrugated iron shacks, motorised transport and a block-built church – that are part of the inevitable cultural transition that is taking place. A couple of pictures are also included of rock engravings, thought to belong to the San people who inhabited the area several thousand years ago, as well as some more recent white-painted rock art.
Slideshow of the Richtersveld Cultural And Botanical Landscape:
Google Earth View: To view satellite imagery of the Richtersveld cultural landscape on Google Earth, click here. This opens a new window, so when you are finished, just close the Google Earth page and you will be straight back here to continue browsing other world heritage sites around Africa. You can learn an enormous amount from this kind of ‘bird’s eye view’, so take a few minutes to explore the surroundings by panning in and out, and looking to left and right at high resolution. That way, you’ll get a strong sense of ‘context’, understanding more of the landscape features in this semi-desert corner of South Africa.