Google 'The Last Frontier' and Dictionary.com brings these explanations. (I have taken license with two to illustrate why we are calling this Travel Tale, The Last Frontier)
- the land or territory that forms the furthest extent of a country's settled or inhabited regions
- an outer limit in a field of endeavor
For us our trip to the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park in October 2013 was indeed the outer limit in a field of endeavor - it was the only SANPark we had yet to visit.
This park is located on the border with Namibia, and is not easily accessible. The quickest way to get to the Park from N7 (RSA) and B1 (Namibia) is to turn off at Steinkopf and approach via Port Nolloth and Alexander Bay with only the last 80km being on dirt. From Steinkopf to the park gate it is 252km.
More from this website - link
Conjure up a desolate and forbidding landscape, seemingly devoid of life, except for some people dotting along the horizon.
Make a startling discovery upon closer inspection when the mirage dissolves into the human-like half-mens (half person) and the harsh environment prove to be a treasure-chest containing the world’s richest desert flora. Miniature rock gardens, perfectly designed by nature, cling precariously to cliff faces. Tiny succulents, mere pinpoints against a backdrop of surreal rock formations, revel in the moisture brought by the early morning fog rolling in from the cold Atlantic Ocean.
Rugged kloofs, high mountains and dramatic landscapes that sweep away inland from the Orange River divulge the fact that you are now in the vast mountain desert that is the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld National Park, an area managed jointly by the local Nama people and the South African National Parks. This is a harsh and unpredictable land where water is scarce and life-sustaining moisture comes in the form of early morning fog – called ‘Ihuries’ or ‘Malmokkies’ by the local people – which rolls in from the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, sustaining a remarkable range of small reptiles, birds and mammals. A staggering assortment of plant life, some species occurring nowhere else, is to be found here, with gnarled quiver trees, tall aloes and quaint ‘half-mens’ keeping vigil over this inscrutable landscape.
The park is only accessible by means of a 4x4 vehicle, but vehicles with high clearances such as combi’s and LDV’s do travel in the park. Sedan vehicles are not permitted. There is no specific route that can be booked in advance.
The website also gives the following tips and advice amongst others:
Insect Repellent is strongly recommended
Binoculars and cameras are a must.
As outdoor lighting in camps is limited, a torch/headlamp is required when walking outside at night.
Cotton sheets will keep insects at bay.
Plastic refuse bags are essential as all rubbish must be removed on departure.
Firewood and kindling may not be collected in the park.
Gas cookers are recommended due to evening winds.
Extra spare wheel, tools, spares, enough food and extra water containers are essential.
Make sure that you always have a good supply of water. Fresh water is available at Sendelingsdrift.
Do not sleep on the bare ground as the park is ideal scorpion habitat.
Driving off indicated routes and outside camping sites is a serious offence. It is harmful to the park and dangerous to the visitor.
Scarves protect against dust and wet towels from extreme heat. Provide clothing for extreme temperatures.
No pets, generators or outboard motors permitted.
No quad bikes or motorbikes will be allowed inside the Park.
Picking of plants, removal of seeds, rocks, crystals or driftwood is an offence. Please help us to preserve the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld’s wilderness atmosphere.
Somewhere I also read a warning that one needs to take extra care not to injure yourself as medical attention is far off.
So, we were set for a great adventure! Into a 'harsh and unpredictable' land we headed.
We spent our first stop over from CT at Namaqua NP and then a second stop over at Port Nolloth. We caught the very last of the flower season in Namaqua, and were blessed with a perfect, clear day at Port Nolloth.