Dust comes free with every activity in the Richtersveld. Red sand blows in from the Namib; a river of ghostly grains coats the floor of the astonishing Secret Valley. It pools around hardy plants, and lingers behind cars traversing the lunar-like landscapes.

Only 4x4s can handle the rudimentary roads that criss-cross this arid mountain desert and drivers cajole their vehicles to remote campsites, hidden in its enormous valleys or alongside pristine stretches of the Orange River. Our expedition, like so many, started with a 7km paddle down a sweep of this watery border with Namibia, a delicious, languid experience, punctuated with kingfisher sightings and chances to drop over the side for a swim...

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