Namaqualand is a semi-desert area situated in the winter rainfall region of South Africa hosting the world’s richest succulent flora, and is one of only two arid areas to classify as a global hotspot of biodiversity. The Goegap Nature Reserve, east of Springbok, lies in the Upland Succulent Karoo. After all the livestock were removed and the reserve fenced in 1969, a long-term monitoring project was initiated to record possible vegetation changes under the reduced grazing pressure. The first monitoring was done in 1974 when two line transects, of 1 km each, were surveyed. These surveys have been repeated annually covering a period of more than 30 years. When the reserve was enlarged in 1990, five additional line transects were set out in highly degraded areas. The main aim of this study was therefore to determine whether any changes in the vegetation in terms of species composition, species richness and life form richness in the monitored line transects could be detected. Rainfall as possible force driving these changes was also examined. It was found that changes did indeed take place in the vegetation. The species composition revealed notable changes over the entire monitored period, specifically in the two longest established line transects, whereas in the case of the species richness changes were also detected, but to a lesser extent and not notable in terms of an overall increase or decrease in the number of species. These changes are referred to as fluctuations. Rainfall can be regarded as a definite environmental driving force, with the time, intensity and duration of importance, specifically to the annual species composition. Overall, the veld condition improved and continuous monitoring of the line transects on a regular basis should take place to improve our understanding of the complex dynamics of this ecosystem. Because the changes in species composition are reflected in changes in grazing capacity the results are of direct importance to the management of the wildlife on the reserve.