Travel Guide

The Final Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Safari Information

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The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park positioned within the southern Kalahari desert, straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana. The crimson sand dunes, sparse vegetation and dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob Rivers is teeming with wild life. The desolate panorama is a wonderful place to see predators, notably the massive cats; lions, leopards and cheetahs. Tenting in Kgalagadi is the preferred solution to discover this improbable park for a few days. Need to discover the Kalahari? Our Street Journey Information from Cape City to Kgalagadi shall be very helpful!

About The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Two adjoining nationwide parks, the Gemsbok Nationwide Park in Botswana and the Kalahari Gemsbok Nationwide Park in South Africa had been joined to kind a single ecological unit, The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The boundary between the 2 parks had no bodily obstacles, though it’s also the worldwide border between the 2 nations. This allowed for the free motion of animals. If you’re staying inside the Kgalagadi Park you do not want a passport even should you drive into the Botswana aspect, it is just mandatory should you enter in a single nation and exit within the different.

Young Cape Fox outside it's den.
Younger Cape Fox outdoors it’s den.

Attending to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

The closest comparatively giant city to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is Upington within the Northern Cape. Attending to Upington from Cape City take the N7 flip off on to the R27, complete distance to Upington 820km (eight to 9 hours drive). From Upington take the R360 for 250 kilometres by way of Askham to Twee Rivieren on the South Africa/Botswana border. Complete distance from from Cape City 1100 km and from Johannesburg 960 km.

The best solution to get to Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Park is to fly from Cape City or Johannesburg to Upington and lease a automotive in Upington.

We love utilizing Rentalcars they examine all automotive rental companies and provide the finest worth, decide up your automotive in Cape City, Johannesburg or Upington.

Animals within the Kgalagadi

The Kgalagadi is likely one of the prime locations to experience wild African wilderness and a bucket record merchandise for many wild life photographers. Since there are not any elephant, rhino or buffalo it’s not the place to see the massive 5. The desolate Kalahari landscapes are nonetheless a wonderful place to identify black-maned Kalahari lions, cheetahs and in case you are fortunate even a leopard. We had plenty of enjoyable watching the smaller inhabitants of the Kalahari; the bat-eared fox, meerkat, floor squirrel and the attractive cape fox. The Honey Badger (Ratel) and Pangolin (Scaly Anteater) are a number of the different smaller animals particular to the park. Loads of motion is obtainable by watching different predators and scavengers equivalent to hyenas, jackals and the birds of prey work together.

SANparks guidelines of mammals within the park

Seeing Kalahari Lions within the wild is likely one of the highlights of visiting Kgalagadi!

Greatest time to go to the Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Park

You may go to his superb park all 12 months spherical. The park  is busier throughout South African faculty holidays. The Kalahari is an arid area with lower than 200mm of rainfall a 12 months, falling between the summer time months of January and April.

Mar/April – finish of the wet season, nonetheless some thunderstorms and rain. Recreation sightings excellent, however predator sightings restricted. Temps are average within the day and funky at night time. Vegetation is inexperienced, lovely time.

Jun/Jul – Very dry and dusty, a number of the crimson dunes. Recreation and predator sightings good. Good for chook watching Day temps good, however at night time drops to -10 deg C.

Sept/Oct – Nonetheless dry and sparse vegetation, and really dusty. Extra vigorous than in winter months. Average day temps and funky at night time. the top of the dry season, many animals and migrating birds congregate across the waterholes. Nice time for chook watching.

Dec/Jan – Thunderstorms, sizzling and heavy rain. With highly regarded days, sport viewing is finest in mornings or evenings. Recreation, predator and chook sightings excellent. New-born animals round, attracting predators.

What automotive do you might want to drive in Kgalagadi?

4×Four is just not required to drive the roads between the standard camps. Good floor clearance will nonetheless make it quite a bit simpler to drive. Within the wet season from December to April the roads might be muddy and 4×Four is extra mandatory. Deflate your tires to 1.6 bar for driving within the sand. You may inflate them once more at Twee Rivieren camp earlier than exit.

  • Twee Rivieren to Nossob the street was good and a Sedan automotive is okay.
  • Nossob to Mata Mata the street was very sandy, a French couple in a Polo bought caught within the sand a few instances and needed to be towed out.
  • Mata Mata to Twee Rivieren, street was good.
wilde beest kgalagadi
We noticed many blue wildebeests in every single place within the park, they’re additionally referred to as gnus.

Lodging within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

On the South African aspect of the park the preferred camps are the three ‘conventional camps’ that is the most cost effective solution to go to the park. The best solution to go to the park is by staying in one of many wilderness camps. The six wilderness camps on the South African aspect are unfenced, however have chalets with loads of luxurious, these camps are considerably costlier than the standard camps. !Xaus Lodge is the one fully-catered luxurious lodge positioned within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Tenting in The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

For tenting within the Kgalagadi your choices are the three fenced conventional camps on the South African aspect or the six extra wild campsites on the Botswana aspect. The standard campsites have outlets the place you should purchase necessities, however we all the time pack a cooler field with ice, drinks and meat for the primary two days. The bathroom and washing services is neat and clear. When packing remember that it could possibly get highly regarded within the day, freezing at night time and you may be tenting on kalahari sand and dirt so floor sails are good. You have to all your personal ingesting water within the park. Purchase some 5L bottles at a grocery store outdoors the park.

Our campsite at Twee Rivieren at sunset.
Our campsite at Twee Rivieren at sundown.

You might be allowed to camp with a caravan within the Kgalagdi Transfrontier Park. The sandy and badly corrugated roads might be very laborious in your caravan inflicting important harm. With a normal caravan I might suggest you keep on with Tweerivieren, folks do make it to Mata Mata driving cautious and gradual, the roads to Nosob shall be even more durable on caravans with decrease profiles. Off street caravans ought to make it to those websites no downside.

The Botswana aspect of park is usually undeveloped, the camps are all very primary, with solely a picket shelter, long-drop rest room and possibly a faucet or bathe. Right here are not any outlets and the roads tough so you need to have a 4×Four that’s fully-equipped so that you might be completely self-sufficient. You need to all the time drive at the very least two automobiles collectively on this a part of the park. A grass web is really helpful to guard your radiator for driving within the lengthy grass.

Because the camps on the Botswana are unfenced lions and predators can enter your camp and infrequently accomplish that. Rooftop tents are the preferred solution to camp right here and are really helpful. Some folks do nonetheless camp within the ‘wild’ camps in regular tents on the bottom with out issues. Apparently sleeping in your automotive roof does probably not assure predators can’t attain you, it simply provides you false sense of safety. That is astray at your personal threat.

Tenting on the South African aspect of the Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Park

We stayed in all three conventional camps, Tweerivieren, Nossop and Mata mata. These campsites are fenced so lions and different animals can’t pay you a go to at night time. Lodging right here is offered in self-catering chalets and there are campsites which is the most cost effective choice on the South African aspect.

Twee rivieren Camp

For those who drive from Upington you’ll enter the park right here. It’s a well-maintained campsite with good services near the primary gate so even should you arrive a bit late it’s not far to drive. The camp has all the pieces chances are you’ll want for tenting and safari. There’s a huge store that sells meals, cool drinks, wooden, water, some tenting tools, souvenirs.

Value of tenting R330 per campsite

A Martial Eagle, we saw many bird of prey.
A Martial Eagle, we noticed many chook of prey.

Nossob Camp

We solely booked our campsite 2 days forward and the usual campsites (R330) had been absolutely booked. We stayed within the premium campsite, this was a bit excessive for our finances, however was very nice. You’ve gotten your personal ablutions block and kitchenette.  There’s a good, non-public shaded space the place you’ll be able to disguise from wind and solar. It was a very good campsite with jackals strolling round inside and I heard a few hyenas howling close by through the night time.

The camp has a waterhole with a disguise, ask the place it’s, dawn and sundown you’ll be able to have some superior sport viewing from right here.

Value of tenting R600 per campsite

Nossob camp site
Premium camp website at Nossob camp, every campsite has these non-public services.

Mata Mata Camp

We had enjoyable in Mata mata watching many floor squirrels and meerkats operating round, digging, looking for some meals throughout us. The camp has a waterhole with a disguise, we spoke to those that noticed a hyena and a cheetah at this waterhole. Whenever you return out of your sport drive go and sit right here for sundown! The camp has a small store promoting cool drinks, snacks, ice, wooden and water.

Mata Mata Kgalagadi
A floor squirrel begging for meals at our camp in Mata Mata!

All three campsites had the next services obtainable:

  • Scorching water bathe – sure
  • Flushing bogs – sure
  • Electrical energy – sure, in you select a website with electrical energy
  • Energy retailers – sure, should you select costlier website with electrical energy
  • Braai place – sure
  • Swimming pool
  • Wi-fi – no
  • Cellphone reception – poor sign, no 3G
  • Settle for playing cards – sure

The Wilderness Camps on the South African aspect of Kgalagadi

The Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Park has six ‘wilderness camps’ on the South African aspect of the park. These camps are positioned in lovely places far contained in the park, the places are remoted and near wildlife.

The websites are; Grootkolk Wilderness Camp, Urikaruus Wilderness Camp, Kielie Krankie Wilderness Camp, Bitterpan Wilderness Camp, Gharagab Wilderness Camp, Kalahari Tented Camp and !Xaus Lodge run by San/Bushmen communities. Every wilderness camp all the time has an armed ranger on website.

All of the camps however Kalahari Tented Camp have Four chalets sleeping 2 individuals every. The camps have solar energy and fuel obtainable (no standard plugs). Items are geared up with a kitchen, lavatory and bed room, cooking utensils, linen and a fridge/freezer.

Grootkolk Wilderness Camp

Probably the most northerly located camp, positioned near the Namibian border with the black maned Kalahari lion usually seen on this space. Chalets in Grootkolk are made out of sand luggage and canvas.

Grootkolk is 6 hours drive from Twee Rivieren and a couple of,5 hours from Nossob. The camp might be reached by regular automotive.

Urikaruus Wilderness Camp

Positioned on the financial institution of the Auob River between Twee Rivieren and Mata-Mata camps with a really lively waterhole, right here you’ll be able to see many of the animals the park is famed for from lions and cheetas to herds of wildebeest, springboks and giraffes. The items are linked by a raised boardwalk. The camp might be reached by regular automobile.

Twee rivieren camp is 2 hours drive from Urikaruus.

lions kgalagadi

Bitterpan

Bitterpan is and remoted camp on stilts overlooking a waterhole. Bitterpan is positioned on a 4×Four route by the Kalahari dunes from Nossob to Mata-Mata and the Kalahari Tent Camp. It will possibly solely be reached by 4×Four and is a couple of 2,5 hr drive from Nossob to Bitterpan.

Grootkolk

The campsite is hidden within the dunes, overlooking a waterhole, 20 km from Union’s Finish. Because of the waterhole attracting animals they’re seen from camp. South Africa, Botswana and Namibia meet at this city. Grootkolk is 6 hours drive from Twee Rivieren and a couple of,5 hours from Nossob. The camp is accessible to sedan automobiles.

Kieliekrankie

Kieliekrankie campsite is sunk into one of many highest dunes within the Kalahari with lovely views of the crimson Kalahari sands. For excellent animal viewing the campsite overlooks a waterhole. The campsite is positioned 50 km, one-and-a-half hours, drive away from Twee Rivieren. Kieliekrankie might be reached by regular automotive.

Gharagab

Garagab campsite is positioned within the far northern area of the park, with elevated views of Kalahari dunes and the thornveld savannah. The campsite is positioned 164 km, about 4 hours drive, north of Nossob on the street to Unions Finish. Garagab camp can solely be reached by 4×Four automobiles.

Kalahari Tented Camp

The Kalahari Tented Camp is the most important of the wilderness camps, it has 15 items. The camp is positioned near Mata-Mata and the Namibian border. Giraffes are sometimes seen within the space. Kalahari camp has a swimming pool with a picket tanning deck. Lodging is in stilted canvas tents searching on a waterhole within the Auob River. Guided morning and sundown drives, and guided morning walks might be organized from Kalahari Tented Camp.

!Xaus Lodge

!Xaus Lodge is a wonderful consolation for a lodge in a magical setting in the midst of the desert. The lodge is run by native communities on Heritage land returned to the ‡Khomani San and Mier communities. It’s the solely fully-catered luxurious lodge to be positioned within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Positioned on the crimson dunes of the Kalahari the lodge overlooks an unlimited salt pan the place, out of your non-public chalet you’ll be able to see the animals ingesting on the waterhole beneath. Reserving !Xaus Lodge

Reserving Campsites and Charges in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

At some point of your keep within the park it’s a must to pay a each day SANParks conservation charge per particular person, in addition to your lodging. The each day conservation charge covers each day self drive safaris, however should you ebook a safari drive or a stroll that’s additional. On the time of writing the conservation charge is R96 per day for SA residents and R384 for foreigners (2020). Conservation charges are much less if in case you have a SANParks Wild Card.

Day guests are welcome in Kgalagadi transfrontier park. There’s a most variety of guests which are allowed within the park per day. Day guests will not be allowed if this quantity is reached. This occurs in season when the park will get busy. You may ebook day visits forward.

The campsites are common and I’ll suggest you ebook as far forward as potential. We’ve checked for tenting at varied instances within the 12 months and also you usually discover a spot, so even whether it is with brief discover it’s a must to verify! It’s straightforward to ebook and pay lodging from the SANparks website:

CAMPSITES AVAILABLE IN KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK

The Botswana Division of Wildlife and Nationwide Parks (DWNP) are responsable for bookings on the Botswana aspect of Kglagadi

Contact DWNP central reservations: Tel +267 318 0774, [email protected]

Recreation Drives in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Most individuals do self drive safaris within the park through the day. There are organised safari drives, now we have heard good things in regards to the night time drives from Nossob. Morning and sundown drives, in addition to morning walks, can be found at Twee Rivieren, Nossob, Mata-Mata and the Kalahari Tented Camp. Enquiries about these drives might be made on the reception desks. Drives require a minimal of two adults so as to exit and a max of 20 folks can go.

Our Kgalagadi journey – Day 1

We arrived at 3pm did a  35km sport drive in direction of Nossob earlier than lighting the fireplace for our braai. The drive took us 3,5 hours and we noticed; three jackals, a bat ear fox, many meerkats and floor squirrels, many gemsboks and springboks, some wilde beests, many ostriches . Keep in mind the camp closes at 7pm.

gemsbok ostrich kgalagadi
There have been many gemsboks and ostriches strolling round in every single place.

Two Rivers campsite – Nossob campsite

We began the drive fairly early earlier than 7am hoping to identify extra animals and we did see some proper to start with. Cape foxes and jackals had been very lively within the morning digging, operating round so we bought some good images. Most of springboks, gemsboks and had been nonetheless half asleep sitting within the grass. After that for many of the method we didn’t see a lot some occasional ostriches, jackals and bokkies. The street is half gravel half sandy not troublesome to drive don’t want 4×Four can drive with a standard automotive.

There are two designated picnic spots between Two Rivers and Nossob with flushing bogs and operating water. These are solely locations you allowed to get off the automotive.

kgalagadi
Gemsbok and a jackal at a waterhole, it is a very typical scene within the Kgalagadi.

Nossob – Mata Mata

It was our worst day within the park we actually noticed nothing until the final flip to Mata Mata, there we noticed some springboks, gemsboks, jackals and many various birds.

Mata Mata – Khalahari Lodge – Springbok

That was our greatest day from the beginning, simply after leaving the campsite we noticed a wild cat, 5 minutes later two hyenas. Lastly we bought some luck! This was an excellent day, we additionally noticed 4 lions (two male and two feminine collectively), two bat-eared foxes, a Cape fox with two cubs. Not mentioning black again jackals, boks, wildebeest, eagles, falcons and lots of meerkats and floor squirrels.

Two lionesses very happy to see each other.
Two lionesses very comfortable to see one another.

Ideas for Kgalagadi Transfrontier park sport watching

  • We discovered the space between Mata Mata and Twee Rivieren to have probably the most animals (particularly lions) of areas that may be pushed with out 4×4. On this stretch lions are seen virtually each day. We had been advised some tales by common guests to the park that they’ve seen as much as 25 lions on that stretch in sooner or later! If you’re restricted in time we’d say from Two River gate drive straight to Mata Mata and slightly keep there for a day or two and do brief morning and night drives within the space.
  • For those who’re geared with a 4×Four and roof prime tent and really feel like going into the wild and exploring extra off the crushed path of the park go to Botswana aspect keep in unfenced campsites we’re positive you received’t be dissatisfied.
  • For excellent images you’ll want a correct zoom lens we did remorse about having solely 18-135mm one. By the best way we’ve by no means seen so many individuals geared so nicely in a single place from their automobiles to the picture tools examine to them we appeared actual safari amateurs.
  • From different travellers phrases it gave the impression of Evening safari is value of cash and other people see quite a bit on them. For some causes there have been no night time safaris on the times we had been there. Keep in mind to ebook night time safari lengthy in superior they’re highly regarded and often absolutely booked.
  • The guided morning walks are extremely really helpful, rise up early and experience the Kalahari daybreak. E book early as you’ll be able to.
meerkat Mata Mata
The meerkats beloved digging round Mata Mata camp!
  • Deflate tyres to 1.6 bars, there may be services to inflate and deflate tyres in all Three conventional camps.
  • The finest instances for animal sightings are within the early mornings in summer time, and afternoons in winter.
  • If you’re touring from South Africa into Namibia, you’re required to spend at the very least two nights within the park – carry your passport!
  • Carry binoculars!
  • Have a look at the animal sightings’ board on the three principal camps to see what has not too long ago been sighted and the place.

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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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