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LOCAL TIME: 02:46 pm | Thursday, 29 February
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Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park

Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park is described as “where the red dunes and scrub fade into infinity and herds of gemsbok, springbok, eland and blue wildebeest follow the seasons, where imposing camel thorn trees provide shade for huge black-mane lions and vantage points for leopard and many raptors…”. (SanParks)

The massive 3.6 million ha Park lies across the border with Botswana, and incorporates what was Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (proclaimed in 1931) in the Northern Cape Panhadle, and Botswana’s Gemsbok National Park.

Kgalagadi means ‘Waterless Place’ in Tswana,  and the Kgalagadi is characterised by red dunes and dry riverbeds for most of the year, where water flows and green erupts only during the rainy season and where herds of antelope, traced by hopeful predators, trek great distances to congregate around ever dwindling waterholes waiting for the skies to open and shower life and renewal.

Animals that define the character of the Kgalagadi include the emblem for the park – the Gemsbok and magnificent black-maned lions. The Kgalagadi is also known for its meerkat families. There are many other species that favour the desert and scrublands, including cheetah, giraffe, springbok, Kudu and Eland among others. Raptors abound, their sharp eyes ever ready to take advantage of the open spaces and the toll that heat and lack of water can take in the dry season.

The vast distances involved in travelling the Park require own 4×4 vehicles with a recommended ground clearance of 30-45cm. You can give it a shot in a sedan, but be prepared to get stuck, require rescuing and have lots of repairs to do. There are a number of 4×4 routes.

You need not cross into Botswana, but should you decide to the entry point is at Twee Rivieren, where normal immigration controls apply along with a minimum 2 night stay on the Botswana side.

There are three rest camps, where you may meet members of the hunter-gatherer Bushmen tribes who still live here as they have for centuries, as protected now as the game they hunt, and also part owners and beneficiaries of the 580ha of the Park.

Read more on the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park from Sanparks

Getaway has also done a great article, posted on ShowMe: Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park

Getting there: The nearest town is Upington. From Upington, take the R360 north for 400 km.

More info on the quaint town of Kgalagadi More info on the Kalahari area

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