Of the remote and rustic campsites along the Gariep in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, our favourite is De Hoop. Be forewarned, in true desert style, the ablutions only have cold water! Story and pictures by Jacques Marais

De Hoop is arguably the best known of the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park’s river camps. Sendelingsdrift, at the entrance to the park, is a good stopover if you’ve had a long day’s drive. The closest river camp from the entrance is Potjiespram on the R1, where the sites are tucked away within the lush, riverine forest lining the riverbank.

Photo by Jacques Marais.

Photo by Jacques Marais.

Further up the river you will discover De Hoop, accessible along the R5 via the rugged Akkedis Pass. Between the languid Gariep and the ragged Rooiberg peaks, you truly feel as if you’ve escaped the rat race.

At De Hoop, opt for the stands further up-river, beyond the new ablution facilities, for extra privacy, and pitch your tent in the shade of one of the gnarled acacia trees. Across the river, the red rocks of Namibia glow like coals at sunset, and strutting goliath herons and darting pygmy kingfishers will possibly be your only neighbours.

Photo by Jacques Marais.

Activity permits for fishing, mountain biking or organised hiking may apply. No electricity or cell phone reception. A 4×4 is required to reach De Hoop and Potjiespram.

Bookings: or +27 (0)12 428 9111