Kgalagadi National Park

Though dry, Kgalagadi teems with life

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana. This immense conservation area was one of the first of its kind and one of the largest in the world. Situated almost wholly in the southern Kalahari Desert, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park is home to a unique and diverse collection of plants and animals that thrive in this ecosystem.

With parts of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park in Botswana and parts in South Africa, the park covers 38 000 km2 - of which two thirds is located in Botswana. Two parks were combined in 1990 to form the Transfrontier Park that exists today. It is a combination of red sand dunes, sparse vegetation and the dry riverbeds of the Auob and the Nassab. The arid region can reach temperatures of 40° Celsius during the day and drop below freezing during the night. It is a land of extremes and beauty.

The sparse vegetation makes the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park a great place for viewing game. The park is renowned for its large herds of migratory herbivores including blue wildebeest, springbuck, eland, red hartebeest and, of course, gemsbok. The meerkats are plentiful and are a common and amusing sight. Some lucky visitors may even see a honey badger or the very rare pangolin during their visit.

Seeing some of the larger predators is also very likely in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. The park counts cheetah, leopard, hyena and the black mane lion among its inhabitants. They are very often seen along with smaller predators like the black-eared jackal. Avian predators, especially raptors, are also a common sight for those visitors with an interest in bird watching.

The accommodation at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park covers a wide range. There are a total of six camps available for visitors. There are three traditional rest camps that have shops, fuel and a place to sleep but most of the service is self-catering. The other three camps are fenceless bush camps. These camps allow visitors to get up close and personal with the wilderness to let the Kalahari into their tents for the night.

The roads throughout the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park are covered in gravel. This makes getting around relatively easy though it a 4x4 is recommended. Car rental is available from one of the nearby camps if prior arrangements have been made. The primary method of seeing game in the park is by self-driving, but there are some tour groups that visit the area as well in the company of an experienced guide.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park is one of the Africa's treasures. The large expanse of wilderness protects a part of the world that is unlike any other. It is a land of extreme temperatures, but also extreme beauty.

 

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