In total contrast to faded Oranjemund, just down the road, the gleaming new centre of the small mining town of ROSH PINAH is bristling with confidence and money, boasting freshly painted cream houses with green roofs, neat, clean streets and a sparkling shopping centre. All this is mainly due to the booming Skorpion mine, 25km to the north. After opening in 2000, it has become one of the largest zinc mines in the world, though various rare and valuable minerals have also been found. There’s nothing to the town itself, though the setting is attractive – once you turn a blind eye to the slag heaps, which announce your arrival from the south – as it’s overlooked by the Huns Mountains to the east and the Swartkloof Mountains that lie to the north and west, straddling the eastern limits of the Sperrgebiet.

The main reason to break your journey here is to use the ATM, get supplies from the well-stocked supermarket in the shopping centre – it’s your best bet if you’re heading south to camp along the Orange River, or visiting the South African side of the Richtersveld park – and to refuel at the petrol station, as there’s nowhere else for 150km in either direction, unless you’re bound for Oranjemund. Should you want or need to stay the night, there are a couple of decent guesthouses with restaurants aimed at visiting mining executives.

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