The history of the people of Riemvasmaak is a rich but sad one. In terms of the apartheid policies of the previous government the people of Riemvasmaak were forcefully removed in 1973/74 to Namibia and the Eastern Cape. The peaceful existence of the various groups – Xhosa, Nama and Coloured – under the leadership of a Nama chief and representatives of the various groups.
Between 1973 and the landmark date in 1994 when the transtion to a democratic government in South Africa came about, the South African Defence Force utilized Riemvasmaak as a training ground. The section known as Melkbosrand was incorporated into the Augrabies National Park. The South African National Park ran a breeding program for the Namibian black rhino on the 4000ha.
Efforts to bring the people of Riemvasmaak back to their land got momentum in 1993. The decision to give the whole 74 000ha back to the people was taken in February 1994.
As one of the first land resititution projects in the New South Africa, Riemvasmaak was registered as a Presidential Launch Project. As a result it had a very high political profile.
Most of the original residents were back on their land at the end of 1995.
About two thirds of the people of Riemvasmaak belong to the Nama culture and live at the mission station. The Xhosa grouping live at the Vredesvallei settlement on the banks of the Orange River.
In 2002 the people of Riemvasmaak get the deeds to the plots they live on – a milestone for those who were landless for so long.
Riemvasmaak offers the tourist a variety of activities as well as breathtaking, rugged beauty. Accommodation is available in comfortable chalets.
Three 4x4 routes that include sand and rocky driving
Three hiking trails for the average hiker
Mountain bike route with sand and rock terrain
Bird watching – Black Eagle, Namaqua Dove, bird list available
Trained guides available – book at office
The people of Riemvasmaak take pride in preparing traditional meals and performing dances in traditional dress. Book at office.
Private Bag X10
Tel: +27 54 337 2804
Faks: +27 54 337 2894 (mark clearly for Riemvasmaak)