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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

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Travel Guide Africa Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

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Introduction

Leopard in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Leopard in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is located in the arid northwest of South Africa and the southwest of Botswana. It is comprising two adjoining national parks, namely the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa and Gemsbok National Park in Botswana.

The park is located in the southern reaches of the Kalahari desert and red sand dunes with some sparse bush and small trees is the main vegetation here. Much of the wildlife can be found along the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob rivers and the main gravelroads run along these riverbeds. Animals which you are likely to see are predators like black-maned Kalahari lions, cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas, hunting for animals like oryx, springbok and wildebeest.

From December to February it can get extremely hot here, with temperatures well over 40 °C. Summer is also the time when most of the rain falls, usually during impressive thunderstorms. It rarely rains much or for days though. From May to October it is mostly dry and sunny with colder nights and pleasantly warm days.

Check Sanparks' Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park website for more information.

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Opening Hours

The park is opening year round but the gates' opening hours vary throughout the year:

  • January - 6:00am to 7.30pm
  • February - 6:00am to 7.30pm
  • March - 6.30am to 7:00pm
  • April - 7:00am to 6.30pm
  • May - 7:00am to 6:00pm
  • June - 7.30 am to 6:00pm
  • July - 7.30am to 6:00pm
  • August - 7:00am to 6.30pm
  • September - 6.30am to 6.30pm
  • October - 6am to 7:00pm
  • November - 5.30am to 7.30pm
  • December - 5.30am to 7.30pm

You need to be within your rest camp or wilderness camps at all other times, unless you have a booked a night tour.

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Cost

The per day rate is 160 rand for adults and 80 for children. If you are visiting for more than 5 days or if you intend to visit more parks in South Africa it pays to get a wildcard, which you can buy from the park's entry gates.

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Getting There

If you don't have your own vehicle, think twice before visiting. Although there are some morning and evening wildlife drives from the main restcamps and Kalahari Tented Camp, there is no public transport in the park itself.

By Train

The nearest train stations are in Upington and Keetmanshoop (Namibia).

By Car

Access is from the towns of Upington and Kuruman towards the main gate at Twee Rivieren (meaning Two Rivers). From Upington, the road is paved all the way to Twee Rivieren, the last 60 kilometres just recently (early 2009). It is about 250 or a solid 2,5 hour drive. From Kuruman you can go via Upington or take the shorter road from Kuruman northwest, eventually meeting the main Upington road as well. This road is 385 kilometres long of which is most is good gravel. Total driving time on either route is about 5 hours though, so if you prefer tarred roads go to Upington first. Total distance from Kuruman along tarred roads is just over 500 kilometres.

Spotted Hyena cubs

Spotted Hyena cubs

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

The part in South Africa is more easily accessible than the park in Botswana and although technically you don't really need a 4wd vehicle, still it is better and gives you the opportunity to visit some more remote parts where several off the self catering wilderness camps are located. If you don't have a 4wd vehicle, it also pays to get a high clearance 2wd vechile like a Nissan X-trail or Honda CR-V. It enables you to see wildlife much quicker and better.

The Botswana side can be reached from places more to the east of that country, or you can enter from Twee Rivieren as well. You will need a 4wd vehicle! There are also tracks signposted from the main road along the Nossob River leading into Botswana, but you need to have your passport stamped in Twee Rivieren first!
You can also enter Namibia at Mata Mata, but in order to do so again you need to have your passport stamped in Twee Rivieren (there is no South African control there) and you need to book at least 2 nights in the park itself as well.
From Namibia, you can visit the park as a daytrip only.

Fuel is available in the 3 main restcamps only (Nossob, Mata Mata, Twee Rivieren).

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Eat

Only Twee Rivieren restcamp has a restaurant serving breakfast and dinner. Twee Rivieren, Nossob and Mata Mata all have small shops with basic food and drinks, including water, soda, beer and wine. If you want more choice it is better to stock up in Upington first.
Note that the wilderness camps don't have any shop so you need to stock up in one of the other restcamps first!

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Drink

See above. Tap water is safe to drink, though in at least one camp (Nossob) it is salty. Make sure you have enough bottled water as well when driving in the park. All of the shops in the main restcamps have drinks.

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Sleep

Most people stay on the South African side of the park, which has most accommodation options. These are operated by Sanparks. You can book all accommodation options only with them. It's advised to book well in advance as accommodation quickly fills up and there are few possibilities of staying outside the park.
There are 3 main restcamps:

  • Twee Rivieren, in the southernmost part of the park
  • Nossob, in the north of the park
  • Mata Mata, in the northwest of the park, at the border with Namibia.

There are also Wilderness Camps to stay:

  • Bitterpan Camp - in the central part, only accessible with a 4wd vehicle
  • Gharagab Camp - in the northernmost part, also only accessible by 4wd vehicle
  • Grootkolk Camp - the northernmost place to stay, along the Nossob river
  • Kielekrankie Camp - in the south
  • Urikaruus Camp - between Twee Rivieren and Mata Mata along the Auob river
  • Kalahari Tented Camp - just 3 kilometres from Mata Mata
  • !Xaus Lodge - the most luxurious option, in the south along a 4wd track

There are camps on the Botswana side as well, but only camping options and you need to have a 4wd vehicle.

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This is version 5. Last edited at 13:42 on Mar 9, 12 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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