Riemvasmaak Ecotourism Project (Hot Springs)

Riemvasmaak (pronounced ‘rim fus maack’) means ‘tighten the strap’ or ‘tied with straps’.  Early in the 1900’s, the Bushmen who also lived in the area stole the community’s stock animals.  These stock thieves were caught and tied to a large rock in the Molopo River with thongs or straps (called ‘rieme’ in Afrikaans).  When the community people came to fetch the thieves the next morning, all they found were the straps left lying on the rocks.  From then onwards, the area was known as Riemvasmaak and the community as the ‘Riemvasmaakers’. 

The Riemvasmaak Ecotourism Project is a community-based project, started with the aim to provide work for the locals and to open the fascinating area for tourism. Besides the interesting name of the area, the region has an interesting history.

Riemvasmaak is 75 000ha of sheer mountain desert wilderness, located between the Orange and the dry Molopo Rivers, approximately 57km from Kakamas and 170km from the Nakop border post with Namibia.  It is a wilderness born from violent volcanic activity millions of years ago, but it is a land of beauty that takes on spiritual proportions.  Here you can relax in the hotsprings dwarfed by 80m high granite cliffs.  Or attempt a challenging 4×4 trail, hike down the canyon to the Orange River.  Or simply set your soul free to soar with the black eagles through the lunar-landscape.

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.  Each chalet has a kitchenette, toilet, cold shower, washbasin and barbecue area.  Bedding is supplied.  There is no electricity in the chalets, but firewood can be bought in the village. All equipment such as cooking and eating utensils, lamps and candles should be brought along.  It is also advisable to bring a good supply of drinking water (about four litres per person per day), as chalet water is for ablution purposes only.  Bathing suits, comfortable clothing, towels, insect repellent and sunscreen should complete the list of essential items.

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