Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park

Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park

Two adjacent national parks, the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa were joined to form a single ecological unit, The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The boundary between the two parks had no physical barriers, although it is also the international border between the two countries. This allowed for the free movement of animals. If you are staying within the Kgalagadi Park you do not need a passport even if you drive into the Botswana side, it is only necessary if you enter in one country and exit in the other.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTF) is one of the largest nature conservation areas in the world and is nearly as big as Switzerland, covering an area of 39.000 km² with three-quarters of the park situated in Botswana and one quarter in South Africa.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was established in May 2000 and is the first project of the so-called peace park project in southern Africa, which aims to conserve and protect wildlife.

The unfenced border of the two countries runs through the park. The KTF is an integration of the former Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (South Africa) and the Gemsbok National Park (Botswana). To the west, the park borders Namibia.

Two large, ethereal rivers meander through the park, the Nossob, and the Auob River. Both are dry rivers, but they provide underground water for grass, trees, and shrubs. During the rainy season, these rivers might carry water for a couple of days.

Very characteristic of the park is the red sand dunes of the Kalahari.

The Kgalagadi is one of the top destinations to experience wild African wilderness and a bucket list item for most wildlife photographers. Since there are no elephants, rhino, or buffalo it is not the place to see the big 5. The desolate Kalahari landscapes are however an excellent place to spot black-maned Kalahari lions, cheetahs, and if you are lucky even a leopard. We had a lot of fun watching the smaller inhabitants of the Kalahari; the bat-eared fox, meerkat, ground squirrel, and the beautiful cape fox. The Honey Badger (Ratel) and Pangolin (Scaly Anteater) are some of the other smaller animals special to the park. Plenty of action is offered by watching other predators and scavengers such as hyenas, jackals, and the birds of prey interact.

Size of Kgalagadi Transfrontiers National park

The total area of the park is 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi). Approximately three-quarters of the park lies in Botswana and one-quarter in South Africa.

Location of Kgalagadi Transfrontier National park

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a vast wildlife preserve in the Kalahari Desert region of Botswana and South Africa, bordering Namibia to the west. It’s characterized by red dunes and dry rivers. Wildlife includes migrating herds of wildebeest and springbok, plus predators like raptors and black-maned Kalahari lions. Various lodges and wilderness camps offer game-viewing drives and guided walks with park rangers.

How to get to Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park

By Road

1. Johannesburg to Witsand Nature Reserve. 2-night stop. 760 kilometers

2. Witsand Nature Reserve to Molopo Kalahari Lodge, Overnight stop. 400 kilometers.

3. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: Rooiputs, Polentswa, Nossob and Lesholoago – Mabuasehube. 17 nights. 60 kilometres to entrance of park.

4. Mabuasehube Gate, Botswana to Kuruman, via Tshabong. Overnight stop. 330 kilometers

5. Kuruman to Johannesburg. 520 kilometers

By Air

The easiest way to get to the Kgalagadi is to fly to Upington and then hire a car and drive you to the park. Car rentals available at Upington Airport include Avis, Budget, Tempest, and Hertz. Three flights daily from Cape Town and Johannesburg on SAA. Light aircraft may land on a tarred runway at Twee Rivieren.

Things to do in Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park

Game Drives in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Most people do self-drive safaris in the park during the day. There are organized safari drives; we have heard good things about the night drives from Nossob. Morning and sunset drives, as well as morning walks, are available at Twee Rivieren, Nossob, Mata-Mata, and the Kalahari Tented Camp. Inquiries about these drives can be made at the reception desks. Drives require a minimum of 2 adults in order to go out and a max of 20 people can go.

Other places to visit in Kalahari Basin include the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and the Khutse Game Reserve. In the park, you will encounter a number of different animals, which include jackals, meerkats, lions, hyenas, gemsbok, hartebeest, giraffes, warthogs, baboons, and chacma. People who desire to see nature should visit the Kalahari Basin. It will be an incredible and different experience for your entire family. You will get to see a variety of different animals from the confines of your car. If you are taking small children along with you, this should be one of the places to visit in the Kalahari Basin. It will be an unforgettable and surreal experience for all of you. Where else will you get to see the animals up close and personal? You may even get a chance to snap a few memorable pictures of the destination. For couples, this is a romantic destination to go and spend their time. You can take a tour guide along with you if you want them to guide you to the best areas to visit in Kalahari Basin. With so many things to do in Kalahari Basin, your experience in Botswana will be one that you will never forget.

When to Visit Kgalagadi Transfrontier national park

Wildlife viewing is always good in Kgalagadi but at its best at the end of the rains (March to May) when animals congregate around the riverbeds. This makes for easier sightings. However, Kgalagadi gets extremely hot during summer – the cooler winter months (May to September) are the most pleasant.

Where to stay Kgalagadi Transfrontier national park

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… this is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park.

Red sand dunes, sparse vegetation, and the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob show antelope and predator species off to spectacular advantage and provide excellent photographic opportunities. Kgalagadi is also a haven for birders, especially those interested in birds of prey.

On the South African side of the park, there are three well equipped and fenced camps providing a variety of accommodation, however, the accommodation on the Botswana side of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is much more limited with only bush camping available (bring all everything you may need). For lodge accommodation, if you are approaching from the Botswana side see accommodation listings in Tsabong.

South African side

Grootkolk Wilderness Camp

The most northerly situated camp, located close to the Namibian border with the black-maned Kalahari lion often seen in this area. Chalets in Grootkolk are made from sandbags and canvas.

Grootkolk is 6 hours’ drive from Twee Rivieren and 2,5 hours from Nossob. The camp can be reached by a normal car.

Urikaruus Wilderness Camp

Located on the bank of the Auob River between Twee Rivieren and Mata-Mata camps with a very active waterhole, here you can see most of the animals the park is famed for from lions and cheetahs to herds of wildebeest, springboks, and giraffes. The units are linked by a raised boardwalk. The camp can be reached by a normal vehicle.

Botswana side

Trinity Hotel Tshabong

Trinity Hotel provides tea and breakfast and lunch. It is located at Tsabong. It is a new existing business with unique strategies and management.

Cornwall Safari Lodge Tsabong

Cornwall Safari Lodge was established by Jannie & Heather Strumpher due to the growing need for accommodation and hunting in the Southern part of Botswana. At Cornwall Safari Lodge, we endeavor to give you an African experience of a lifetime.

Size & Location
How to get there
Areas of interest
When to visit
Where to stay