The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park comprises an area of over 3,6 million hectares – one of very few conservation areas of this magnitude left in the world.It is situated in the Kalahari Desert which covers approximately 350,000 square miles (900,000 square kilometres) encompassing most of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa and is made up of both red and white sand dunes. This semi-arid region came into existence approximately sixty million years ago along with the formation of the African continent.
The Kalahari gets very hot; it can reach temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer. In winter the desert has a dry, cold climate where the temperature can reach 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Kalagadi Transfrontier Park has a list of approximately 280 species of birds of which only about 92 are resident. This is a haven for birders, especially those interested in birds of prey.
The sparse vegetation provides spectacular photographic opportunities of the regal Black-maned Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Springbok, Blue Wildebeest, Eland and a huge population of the beautiful Gemsbok to mention but a few.
Survival in the Kalahari is difficult, animals need to be able to withstand extreme climates (both hot and cold). Evolution has produced some amazing animals native to this region who are well adapted for survival.
Over four hundred species of plants have been identified in the Kalahari Desert many of which have thorns on them to prevent the animals eating them and so becoming extinct.
The Kalahari's sand is better than most deserts at retaining water, and therefore allows for more plant life than most deserts.
The San people have lived in the Kalahari for 20,000 years as hunter-gatherers. They hunt wild game with bows and poison arrows and gather edible plants, such as berries, melons and nuts, as well as insects. The San get most of their water requirements from plant roots and desert melons found on or under the desert floor. They often store water in the blown-out shells of ostrich eggs. The San live in huts built from local materials—the frame is made of branches, and the roof is thatched with long grass. Even though survival in the Kalahari Desert can be challenging there are several tribes that make it their home. A small group of these people still follow the traditional lifestyle as hunters-gatherers, as their tribe has done for thousands of years.
The Park is run by SANParks and bookings can be made through their website. Various types of accommodation is available including camping and chalets which come equipped with cutlery, crockery etc. All main camps have restaurants and small shops where necessary items can be purchased as well as swimming pools to cool off in the midday heat.
Important Notes from the SANParks website:
Tourists travelling from and to Namibia and/or Botswana, please acquaint yourself with the Customs procedures for the transportation of goods between South Africa, Namibia and Botswana that is available on the SARS website at http://www.sars.gov.za/ClientSegments/Customs-Excise/Pages/default.aspx
No foreign currencies will be accepted in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) on the South African side, only ZAR (South African Rand) will be accepted within the KTP.
Kindly note that the roads in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park are not sedan friendly, although the roads are maintained on a monthly basis, sedan vehicles find it difficult to cope with the conditions. Vehicles which will be using any of the 4x4 routes in the park must note that the recommended ground clearance should be 190mm, to make the drive more enjoyable.
Tourists wanting to exit the park other than the point of entry must kindly note that all immigration controls must be done at Twee Rivieren / Two Rivers, and that a 2 night stay in the park is compulsory.
No children under the age of 12 is allowed at any of the park’s Wilderness camps.
Please also note that no firearms or wood will be cleared via the Mata Mata border control. Individuals wishing to clear firearms or wood should do so via Rietfontein border control.