Kgalagadi National Park | South Africa Travel Tips & Reviews | Africa Point
Kgalagadi National Park
Kgalagadi National Park, South Africa
Kgalagadi National Park
Lions, Kgalagadi National Park, South Africa
Kgalagadi National Park
Rhino, Kgalagadi National Park, South Africa
Kgalagadi National Park
Herd of Gemsbok, Kgalagadi N. P., South Africa
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Kgalagadi National Park


The roar of the Black-mane Kalahari Lion reverberates through the air as the sun sets over the red sand dunes and imposing Camel Thorn trees of the Kalahari Desert.  Overhead the Vultures circle the desert, and the animals become restless as twilight heralds the start of the hunt...Welcome to Kgalagadi!


Best Time to Visit:

The cooler months after the rains – March to September are the best game viewing months.

How to Get There:

Flights from Johannesburg to Upington and then 250kms by road to the Park.  Charter flights are available into the park from Johannesburg and Botswana.
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Desert Drama at Kgalagadi

Kgalagadi Transfontier Park is one of the world’s last remaining totally unspoilt conservation areas of this size, straddling the border of South Africa and Botswana.  Although Kgalagadi is home to many species of animals and birds, the astounding beauty of the Kalahari Desert landscape is as much of a draw card as the animals who roam the 3,6million hectare Park.  Red sand dunes, low scrub and the occasional tree continue as far as the horizon, under the wide and starry African skies.  Although the region receives very little rain (it is officially a semi-desert) it manages to support a very large population of birds, rodents, and small mammals, which in turn support the large number of predators.   Come with us to Kgalagadi and be a witness to the eternal drama of life in the desert.


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Predators, Raptors, and other Highlights


Big Cats and others...Kgalagadi is not a Big Five Park, but it is pure Predator Paradise and you can expect regular sightings of some of the big cats, especially the huge Black-mane Lion, King of the Kalahari Desert.  The park is home to more than 1100 predators including about 200 Cheetahs, 450 Lion and 150 Leopards.  In addition there are several smaller predators including the Spotted and Brown Hyena, African Wild Cat, Jackals and Cape Silver Fox.



Kgalagadi is known for the large number of raptors that are permanent or seasonal visitors, and is in fact referred to as the Raptor Capital of South Africa by those in the know.  It is not at all unusual to spot more than 15 different raptor species in the course of a couple of days – some that you can expect to see are the Bataleur Eagle and  Martial Eagle (common sightings),  Lanner Falcon, Goshawk, Sparrow Hawk, Pygmy Falcon and both the Lappet-faced and White-backed Vulture.  


Wildlife Photography

As you can imagine, the Kgalagadi Transforntier Park is the perfect place to go if you are into wildlife photography.  The stark beauty of the landscape and the stunning wide skies make the perfect backdrop for beautiful and evocative photographs.  The fact that there is very little cover means that there are few hiding places and the animals and birds are much easier to spot. The Cycle of Life in the Kgalagadi is often harsh and unrelenting, but that is the way of there to capture it.



Safaris in the Kgalagadi Park 

Most tourism takes place in the South African part of the Park, formerly known as the Kalahari Gemsbok Park, which has fairly well established infrastructure and roads.  The section of the Park on the Botswana side of the border is really wild and quite inaccessible to ordinary vehicles.  The best way to get the most out of a visit to Kgalagadi Park is to go on an organised Safari for at least 3-4 nights.  You will have the opportunity to see several parts of the Park and stay in different camps each night.  The benefit of having an experienced and knowledgeable guide cannot be over-emphasised – your guides know exactly where to go for the best viewing opportunities. You can also choose to go on a night drive in an open game viewing vehicle with a ranger; most of the rest camps and lodges offer this not-to-be-missed opportunity, which will be the highlight of your visit.



Other Activities

The remote situation of the Kgalagadi Park means that there is little commercialism in or around the Park.  People come here to get away from it all and experience a true taste of the wilderness, so there are limited activities in the area.   However, here are some of the best!



A visit to this unspoilt wilderness, far from the intrusion of city lights (or even camp lights) will give you a completely different view of the millions of stars in the wide African skies – an experience you will not forget in a hurry!  Sit around your campfire and swop stories of the fantastic sightings of the day as the sounds and smells of the desert wrap around you – this is pure medicine for the soul!


Guided Morning Walks

This is a wonderful way to start your day...set off on a dawn walk to see the sun rise over the red  desert dunes; it’s not as tame as it sounds however – there is always the possibility of bumping into a Lion!  


Bushman Paintings

Outside the Park you can visit the Norokei Salt Pans (a natural salt mine) and the Khomani San Bushmen, to see their art and learn a little about their culture.



Accommodation in the Kgalagadi Park

Accommodation within the Kgalagadi Park is comfortable but not luxurious, but after all you are here for the scenery and the wildlife!    The traditional rest camps at Twee Rivieren, Nossob and Mata-Mata have various chalets and cottages and all these camps have a swimming pool, which you will thoroughly appreciate in summer!  Then there are the Wilderness Camps,  which are dotted around in superb locations, but are quite hard to reach and require you to bring your own water, food, firewood, etc.  If you are up for it you will have a wonderful experience in the middle of the Park.  These camps are unfenced, and some of them have flood-lit water holes and an armed guard to protect you!


There is one luxury lodge inside the Park run by the Khomani San Bushmen, where you will have a more traditional luxury safari experience, including game drives, up-market accommodation and great food.  You will also have the satisfaction to know that you are supporting the original hunter/gatherers who roamed these plains hundreds of years ago.


Outside the Park there is a selection of accommodation ranging from guesthouses to a 5-Star Lodge, but you will then have to drive in and out of the park each day and will not be able to enjoy the magic of a night safari.



How to Get There

Kgalagadi is a remotely situated Park and getting there is part of the fun!


From the South African Side:    From Johannesburg you can take a domestic flight to Upington in the Northern Cape (about an hour) and then drive to the Park – 250kms from Upington.


It is also possible to charter a private flight from Johannesburg to the Nossob Camp or Twee Rivieren airstrips.


From the Botswana Side:  The airport just outside Gabarone is a 12 hour drive from the Park, and the only feasible option from the Botswana side is to charter a private flight into the Park.



Best Time to Visit

Wildlife viewing is good all year round, but the best time to visit is from March to September when the rains have fallen and the animals congregate in the river beds.

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