Last year we did a route with a group of people from Pella to just before Vioolsdrif.

This year December (yes I know its crazy hot) we would like to do Vioolsdrif to Alexander Bay all along the Orange river as well.

Is this similar to the Pella stretch where one can drive all along the Orange river and sleep anywhere, not specifically in the paid campsites, and can utilise the 4x4 routes vs the busier tar routes.
From what I have seen the "Part 2" of the Namakwa Eco route cuts down in the south of Richtersveld from Viools to Alexander. We would be interested in spending a few nights in Richertsveld area moving along the Orange River and possibly more North, before making the straight line to Alexander bay.

Does one need a permit for this route(who do we contact and costs)?
How long would it typically take following the Orange river from Vioolsdrif to Alexanderbaai?