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LLekkersing is not on many people's itinerary, being a relatively hard-to-reach little village deep in the remote Richtersveld. But once you get there, the warmth of the local people make up for the long journey. And if you want to find out about Nama traditions, Lekkersing is a good starting point.
Deep in the folded hills of the Richtersveld in the Northern Cape lies the village of Lekkersing.
No one can tell you with authority how Lekkersing (Afrikaans for ‘joyful singing’) got its name. Perhaps there were some great choral singers living here once; perhaps it was named after a small nearby fountain that gurgled tunefully.
Up here in the dry Richtersveld, the sound of fresh water flowing is music to anyone’s ears. But a troupe of Nama singers in full cry is just as lyrical. Perhaps Lekkersing has two origins: a village that broke out in song at the sound of a sweet stream passing.
Above the village is a diamond quartzite mine that produces incredibly patterned slabs of slate that have been exported as tiles to all corners of the world. The most beautiful of these are the ‘flower stones’, which look very much like fossilised flowers, but experts say the effect comes from magnesium crystals being formed from the slow seepage of water into the rock.
But the main activity of Lekkersing, which lies near the Richtersveld Community Conservancy World Heritage Site, is the herding of livestock – goats in particular.
The Nama traditions are strong in Lekkersing. When you go there, you might meet the amiable Magrieta Cloete. Ask her about local cooking traditions. She’ll tell you all about veldkos (veld food) and traditional lip-smackers like melkkluitjies (dumplings cooked in goat’s milk). 'We live in a very quiet world out here,' she’ll say – obviously not referring to the local kitchens.
Down the road, Auntie Regina Fieland and her granddaughter, Monique, will bring out their traditional sun bonnets and model them for you.
Then you can sit down for strong coffee with the family and, for a few hours, be part of a very special world.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Lekkersing municipal offices
Tel: +27 (0)27 851 8580
How to get here
The nearest large towns are Port Nolloth and Springbok. Port Nolloth is on the R382 about 45km away (allow for an hour to drive between them), and Springbok is about 130km from Lekkersing (allow about an hour and a half to drive). From Port Nolloth, head east along the R382. After about 20km turn left to Cloete Street and continue straight.
Best time to visit
At the change of seasons – the flowers are out in spring (August/September), and the weather is great in autumn (April/May).
Things to do
Visit the villages of Eksteenfontein and Khuboes while you're in the area. It's also well worth a trip to the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.
What will it cost?
Accommodation is basic and inexpensive.
Length of stay
Stay 2 days and then head on to the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park for a few days.
Where to stay
Enquire at the municipal offices about accommodation.
What to eat
Bring your own food – this is a self-catering experience.