Northern Cape gems: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

April 05, 2017  — 
(Image: Ben Haeringer)

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the southern Kalahari Desert is an unspoilt expanse of wilderness and rugged beauty.

The park straddles both South Africa and Botswana, and covers a colossal 3.8-million hectares, making it one of the largest conservation areas in the world.

Scarce vegetation and a concentration of animals in the dry riverbeds of the Auob and Nossob rivers make the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park an ideal destination for wildlife viewing and photographic opportunities.

The park is home to approximately 300 bird species and more than 100 mammal and reptile species. Mammals to be seen here include the black-maned lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena.

The park has accommodation facilities that range from rest camps to chalets and luxury private lodges.

The Twee Rivieren Rest Camp at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

The Twee Rivieren Rest Camp at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.  (Image: Bernhard Bekker)

The Twee Rivieren Rest Camp, the biggest of three rest camps at the park, is at the southern entrance and functions as an administration centre. The park’s office is at the Twee Rivieren Rest Camp, where there's also a fuel station, shop with basic supplies and curios, a restaurant, chalets and cottages.

Visitors are welcome to bring their own camping equipment and sleep over at the rest camp. Other smaller rest camps are Twee Rivieren Rest Camp, the biggest of three rest camps at the park, is at the southern entrance and functions as an administration centre. The park’s office is at the Twee Rivieren Rest Camp, where there's also a fuel station, shop with basic supplies and curios, a restaurant, chalets and cottages.

Visitors are welcome to bring their own camping equipment and sleep over at the rest camp. Other smaller rest camps are Nossob and Mata-Mata.

A thunderstorm approaches the Urikaruus Desert Camp at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

A thunderstorm approaches the Urikaruus Desert Camp at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.  (Image: Shane Saunders Photography)

In addition to the campsites, the park also has private lodges. The four-star !Xaus Lodge has a central section with a reception, lounge and dining area, and 12 chalets. The location of the lodge (pronounced “kaus”) provides guests with an unrivalled desert experience.

The word !Xaus means “heart” and refers to a huge heart-shaped salt pan that guests can view from each of the chalets' individual decks. In addition to exploring the natural splendour, guests can also learn about the heritage and traditions of the local Khomani San and Mier communities while exploring a recreated cultural village nearby.