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Northern Cape
What you need to know
Weekend Getaway
Bush Retreats

If you’re a confident 4x4 driver, with good driving and navigating skills, then try the Namaqua 4x4 Exploration, one of South Africa's least visited and most beautiful 4x4 trails. 

The Namaqua 4x4 Exploration is not for the fainthearted and it's best to travel with at least one other vehicle just in case of an unexpected breakdown. 

The entire 612km 4x4 trail stretches along the Gariep River from Pella, the little mission station near Pofadder in the Northern Cape, to the river's mouth in Alexander Bay. However, if you have time, add another 120km to your journey to test your skills further at Amam's dunes. 

The first section of the route is from Pella to Vloolsdrift, but before you set off visit Pella's fascinating church in its almost surreal setting of date palms and sun-baked hills. 

Set aside three days for this 328km first part of the trip that runs through communal and private land, most belonging to the scattered Nama people. Take all your supplies with you because there are none available along the way. 

It's worth taking the 1-day detour to Amam (named Xam Xam by the indigenous people after the wild grass that grows there) where you’ll be faced with some of the best 4x4 desert dune driving in the country. 

Experts claim that the second part of the route, from Vloolsdrif to Alexander Bay, crossing the mountains of the southern Richtersveld, is comparatively 'easier' than the first part, with general dealer stores along the way if you need to stock up on essentials. 

The entire trail takes you through remote desert landscapes, although it's comforting to know that civilization is not too far away if you need it. 

Did You Know?

TTravel tips & planning  info 

Who to contact 

Namaqua Tourism 
Tel: +27 (0)27 712 8035/6 


How to get here 

The Namaqua Adventure Route starts at Pella, west of Pofadder in the Northern Cape, which is on the N14.  

Best time to visit  

Autumn and spring. Avoid October to January as these are the hottest months with temperatures over 40ºC. 

Things to do  

Visit Pella's remarkable church was built over 7 years in the early 1800s from pictures in a German encyclopedia by 2 Catholic priests both of whom are buried on the church grounds. 

What to pack  

You need to purchase a permit from the Namaqua tourism office for this trail.  

Make sure you have all the gear necessary for an arduous 4x4 trail, plus all your food, cooking equipment, petrol and water for the first part of the trail. The second section has general dealer stores along the route. A GPS is essential. 

Where to stay  

There are basic camping sites along the route. You will be given directions to these and for the trail when you buy your permits. 

What to eat  

Be sure to bring all the food and water you need with you, especially for the first part of the trail. 

Related links 

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