Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - the former Kalahari Gemsbok National Park - in the northernmost corner of South Africa is still one of the best kept secrets in South African tourism, attracting 50,000 visitors annually. From any starting point, the journey to the remote nature reserve is a long drive over dusty roads. The park provides an insight into the fascinating ecosystem of the Kalahari with its orange-red sand dunes and a flora and fauna specially adapted to the arid conditions in the Kalahari desert.
The Kalahari park was declared a National Park in 1931, mainly to put a stop to the destructive game poaching. After the amalgamation with the bordering Gemsbok National Park in Botswana in 1998 the reserve is now called Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and comprises an area of more than 36,000 sq km. The border is marked only by whitewashed stones, so that the animals can roam freely through both parks.
Access to the park (South African part) in the south leads through the restcamp Twee Rivieren ("Two Rivers"). Excellent accommodation is available here with a swimming pool, restaurant and other amenities. The two main routes through the National Park start here and run along the - usually dry - riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob rivers to the remote restcamps Mata-Mata and Nossob. In distances of 5 to 20 kilometres, one can find waterholes along the riverbeds, most of them fed by wind pumps. Here is where the game gathers, especially in the early hours of the morning and late in the afternoon.
The cooler winter months from April to September are more suitable for a visit to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park than are the very hot summer months, when temperatures might rise above the 40° C mark. The most favourable time for game observation is right after the rainy season, which usually ends in March or April. If you don't mind the heat, January and February are good months to spot lions.
The roads in the park are untarred and quite sandy in parts. However, a 4x4 vehicle is normally not required. Occasionally, during the rainy season, the roads might be flooded in certain areas, at which time the park is sometimes closed to normal vehicles.