Wild animals roam the plains of this hostile environment and include springbok, klipspringer, grey rheebok and steenbok. Baboon and a small population of Hartmanns’s Mountain Zebra (a protected species) are also inhabitants of this fascinating desert.

Like plants have adapted to the harsh climate, so have reptiles, amphibians, insects and spiders adapted to living in the Richtersveld desert. Tortoise beetles, for example, use a waxy covering to control water retention and temperature, while other insects are able to manufacture their own water.  At first sight the desert may look dead, but at a closer look one will spot life camouflaged everywhere’stone grasshoppers on the rocks, praying mantids in quartzite outcrops, and the world’s smallest tortoise, the (Namaqua) speckled padloper, sheltered in cracks in rocks.

While elephants, lions, and rhinos have long abandoned this area, other large mammals inhabit the Richtersveld, though they are more rarely seen. In fact, for an arid region, the Richtersveld is extremely rich in fauna. The Hartmann’s mountain zebra occurs in the mountains of the Richtersveld National Park and sometimes strays into the Community Conservancy. Antelopes in the area include the gemsbok, klipspringer, duiker, vaalribbok, and steenbok, while the black backed jackal and the Cape and bat-eared foxes are also present. On the coast, brown hyaenas can be spotted at night feeding on dead seals, seal pups and sea birds.

  Reptiles are common. Walking quietly over the rocks in the heat of the day will reveal many, and in summer barking geckos advertise their presence. There are not as many snakes as one would expect, although in mid-winter sightings of a large black spitting cobra in a rock-strewn hollow. Puffadder, spitting cobra, horned adder, many-horned adder and the Nama tiger snake are the most common species. Only the cobra and puffadder are life-threatening. The potentially lethal scorpion is abundant in summer. The black ones (Parbuthus felosa) can squirt their venom up to a metre into one’s eyes. The beige ones tend to hide under anything left on the sand and they carry a vicious sting.  
  You should see: klipspringers, Hartmann's mountain zebra, baboon, vervet monkey, meerkat, rock dassie,
You may see: aardwolf, caracal, leopard, brown hyaena, bat-eared fox, honey badger, leopard, pangolin, porcupine, silver (Cape) Fox, genet, steenbok, duiker,
5 things to seek in the park:
  • Rock Hyrax
  • Ground Squirrel
  • Jackal Buzzard
  • Half-men (Half Human)
  • Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra