WHY IS THE RICHTERSVELD A WORLD HERITAGE SITE?  
     
 

It is slightly ironic that the reason why the Richterveld is a World Heritage Site, is not because of its ‘desolation’ but because of its population.

The Nama people have made this part of the world their home about two millennia ago and because no one else has been willing or able to survive in this landscape, their lifestyle has not changed much in that time.

“The extensive communal grazed lands of the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape are a testimony to land management processes which have ensured the protection of the succulent Karoo vegetation and thus demonstrates a harmonious interaction between people and nature.” (UNESCO :http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1265)

In short: long before Al Gore, Green Peace and the concept of sustainable development, the Nama got it right!
They live in harmony with their surrounds even though, when looking at the surrounds, one wouldn’t expect it to be possible.

 
     
 

STATEMENT BY THE OFFICE OF MARTHINUS VAN SCHALKWYK, MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM, THURSDAY 28 JUNE 2007. SOUTH AFRICA GETS 8TH WORLD HERITAGE SITE

 
  “… the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as the eighth South African World Heritage Site. This site joins the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park (Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park), uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, Robben Island, Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape, Vredefort Dome and the Fossil Hominid-bearing Sites of South Africa (i.e., Cradle of Humankind, Makapan Valley and Taung Skull Fossil Sites) as places of outstanding universal value”, as Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk stated on 28 June 2007.