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.