The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of the largest wildlife conservation areas that have survived human habitation throughout the world. The conservation area stretches from South Africa’s Kalahari Gemsbok Park and to the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana for a total area of 38,000sq km.
Wildlife in Kgalagadi
A large part of the Kgalagadi is found in Botswana but the absentia of protective barriers for the parks makes it easy for the animals to cross from one side to another. The park is largely under the Kalahari Desert with also rising red sand dunes, sparse savanna vegetation, dry riverbeds from Nossob and Auob rivers and a few standing trees-even with such gloomy landscape there is abundant wildlife that lives here. The salt pans fill up with water during the rainy season and contain nutrient-rich soils, and salts thus attracting some thirsty herds to the water points.
The gemsbok is the pride of this park with several herds visiting the pans after the heavy rains. The vast park is home to the wildebeest, eland, hartebeest and springbok, and a healthy population of large predators – lions, leopards, cheetah and hyena. Bird watching is a delight with species such as vultures, eagles, buzzards, secretary beds, weavers, pygmy falcons and many other birds.
How to get there
Game viewing can be done all through the year but the best time to visit the park March to May when the rains recede to make several water pans around the park. the roads through the park are not well maintained as thus may need a sturdy 4X4 truck as you visit the different parts of the park.
The park is accessed through its five park gates in Botswana and South Africa. From South Africa, use the Twee Riviren gate to do all the fees, fire arm clearing and also get guides. While on Botswana holidays, the park is reached via the Two-rivers gate, Mabuasehube and Kaa gates or from the border posts. Arriving from Namibia, the park is reached from Mamuno border and then drive towards Mat-Mata gate.
Although there are no luxury safari lodges and camping facilities for Kgalagadi Transfrontier park, there are about 6 basic camps on the south African side including Bitterpan wilderness camp, Twee Rivieren rest camp, Grootkolk wilderness camp, Mata Mata rest camp, Kalahari tent camp and Nossob rest camp. From Botswana, camping is done at Polentswa, Rooiputs and two rivers camp in Mabuasehube. You are however cautioned to carry drinking water, firewood and food if you’ll be camping here.
In case you are looking forward to seeing the adventures from the other side of the park i.e. for South Africa, you are encouraged to spend one or two nights to be on the safe side!