This Northern Cape settlement is situated on the edge of the Orange River. Picture: @Ters Wille/Instagram
This Northern Cape settlement is situated on the edge of the Orange River. Picture: @Ters Wille/Instagram

Take the road less travelled to Riemvasmaak

By Marchelle Abrahams Time of article published Jan 10, 2020

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The Northern Cape doesn't get as much attention as the rest of the country when it comes to visitors. 

In fact, many describe it as a dust bowl of nothingness. And those that do visit end up at the normal tourist attractions like Kimberley's Big Hole or Augrabies Falls. But the beauty of our country is that there are always undiscovered gems to be explored.

One such place is Riemvasmaak. Literally meaning "tighten the strap" or "tied with straps", this Northern Cape settlement is situated on the edge of the Orange River, close to the Namibian border.

Rich in history and culture, the town was originally settled in the early 1930s by people of Xhosa, Damara, Herero, Nama, and Coloured origin.

A virtually untapped tourism market, the previous military testing site is now experiencing a reawakening due to its caves and nature reserves. 

"Today, Riemvasmaak tourism is a major source of income for the town, and affects the economy and individuals such as small business owners and entrepreneurs," notes Riemvasmaak's official tourism website.

But the one drawcard that brings in the numbers are its natural hotsprings. The hotsprings are dwarfed by 80m high granite cliffs, and offers self-catering accommodation. 

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29/4/19 When you find a natural pool with water this clear and that good it's time to let your inner child come out to play. Share time with no-one else but a few colourful creatures on the rocks. Heaven in temperatures that feel closer to the other side of the spectrum. The other one, the little warm manmade pool a bit hot for my liking; but we stayed in the natural pool amongst the reeds until we looked like raisins. #northerncape#riemvasmaak#remotecountry#nopowernosignalnopeople#farawayland#hotsprings#naturalpools#naturelover#outside#letsgoandplay#ontheroad#roadtriphome#stopandsmelltheroses#supportthelocals#water#savewater#waterisprecious#menseselense#joureisbeginhier#wegtydskrif

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"Accommodation at the Riemvasmaak hotsprings is in comfortable 8-bed or 4-bed chalets, all blending into their rocky background with spectacular views over the Riemvasmaak granite canyon," reads the website.

There are also 4X4 routes, hiking trails and mountain bike routes.

Other big attractions include canoeing on the Orange River. Swift River Adventure offers half-day river rafting trip from Upington to Oukamp. During your 3-5 hour journey down the Orange, you will be accompanied by registered African Paddling Association (APA) guides. 

For those who want more of a cultural experience, the 'Magic of the Kalahari Tours' is an African safari vacation of great diversity. Rugged landscapes, vast kalahari areas and plains filled with wildlife is something not to be missed.

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