Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

South Africa, AFRICA

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) is a large wildlife preserve and conservation area in southern Africa. The park straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana and comprises two adjoining national parks:botswana-world-map

  • Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa
  • Gemsbok National Park in Botswana

It comprises an area of over 3,6 million hectares which is one of very few conservation areas of this magnitude left in the world. Kgalagadi means place of thirst. The park is located largely within the southern Kalahari Desert. Red sand dunes, sparse vegetation and the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob show antelope and predator species off at a premium and provide excellent photographic opportunities.

kgalagadi-map

Weather Essentials

Month High Temp. Low Temp. Rain Weather Season
January 35°C 19°C 4.5 cm Summer
February 34°C 19°C 4.8 cm Summer
March 32°C 17°C 4.6 cm Summer
April 29°C 13°C 3.7 cm Summer
May 25°C 6°C 0.8 cm Winter
June 22°C 2°C 0 cm Winter
July 22°C 1°C 0 cm Winter
August 25°C 2°C 0 cm Winter
September 29°C 7°C 0.4 cm Winter
October 31°C 12°C 1.3 cm Winter
November 33°C 15°C 2 cm Summer
December 35°C 18°C 2.3 cm Summer

Wildlife viewing at Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is very good all year round but it is at its best when the rain ends and the animals congregate around the riverbeds making for easier sightings. Out of 12 months, May / June / July are supposed to be the best months.

Attractions

Self-driven game viewing and relaxing around a campfire is the most conventional attraction/activity in any national park. At Kgalagadi, other activities includes:

Guided sunset drive – Depart at dusk and watch the sunset bring the warm Kalahari sands to life and return to camp under the cover of darkness. The radiant star- and moonlight contrast spectacularly against the jet-black sky.

Morning Walk – Participate in the natural beauty of a Kalahari dawn by going on an early morning walk. An informative field guide will share secrets of this thirsty land with you as the day gently unfolds.

Months of May, June & July are supposed to be the best time to visit KTP, when the rain ends and the animals congregate around the riverbeds making for easier sightings.

Camping – There are different types of camping options available at KTP:

  • Traditional Rest Camps
    1. Twee Rivieren – is the Park’s largest rest camp and administrative headquarters. This popular rest camp offers a range of accommodation types to suit a variety of tastes and budgets including family cottages, chalets and camp sites. This is the only camp with 24 hrs electricity and cell phone reception.
    2. Mata-Mata Rest Camp – is situated on the banks of the Auob River on the western boundary bordering Namibia and is surrounded by thorny Kalahari dune bushveld. A generator provides electricity for 18 hrs per day and there is no telephone or cellphone reception. Mata-Mata is 2.5 hrs drive from Twee Rivieren.
    3. Nossob Rest Camp – is situated within the dry riverbed of the Nossob and is surrounded by tree savannah and is famous for spectacular predator sightings. A generator provides electricity for 18 hrs per day. No phone reception is available at the camp which ad to the tranquillity and peaceful atmosphere at Nossob. Nossob is 3.5 hrs drive from Twee Rivieren.
  • Wilderness Camps
    1. Bitterpan – is situated in the center of the wilderness opening up a new 4×4 route through the Kalahari dunes from Nossob to Mata-Mata and the Kalahari Tent Camp. This camp is not fenced and a tourism assistant is on duty at all times. It is approximately a 2,5 hr drive from Nossob to Bitterpan, while from Bitterpan to Craig Lockhart on the Auob tourist road takes another 2.5 hrs, and thereafter 15 minutes to Mata-Mata, or a two hour drive to Twee Rivieren. It is strictly a 4×4 route, but BIG 4×4’s such as Unimogs (heavy vehicle 4×4) are not allowed.
    2. Grootkolk – is tucked away in the dunes, overlooking a waterhole, 20 km from Union’s End where the three countries South Africa, Botswana and Namibia meet. It is a wilderness camp nestled amidst red sand dunes with only the stars and silence for company. Grootkolk is 6 hours drive from Twee Rivieren and 2,5 hours from Nossob. The camp is accessable to sedan vehicles.
    3. Kalahari Tented Camp – is situated high up on a red sand dune, overlooking a waterhole in the dry bed of the ancient Auob River. The tent camp is 3 km from the Mata-Mata Rest Camp where Kalahari Tent Camp residents can refuel and get basic supplies at the shop.
    4. Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp – is situated 50 km (1.5 hours) drive away from Twee Rivieren on the Southern Dune Road. At this camp guests have to provide their own drinking water and firewood. The camp is unfenced, and there is a tourism assistant on duty. This unique self-catering wilderness camp is accessible by passenger vehicles.
    5. Urikaruus Wilderness Camp – is situated 72 km (2 hours) drive away from Twee Rivieren on the road to Mata Mata between the veil of old camelthorn trees, overlooks the Auob River. The camp is unfenced, and there is a tourism assistant on duty. Urikaruus is accessible by passenger vehicles.
    6. Gharagab Wilderness Camp – is situated 164 km (4 hours) drive north of Nossob on the road to Unions End. The camp is unfenced, and there is a tourism assistant on duty.

NOTE: No children under the age of 12 is allowed at any of the park’s Wilderness camps listed above.

  • Luxury Safari Lodge
    1. !Xaus Lodge – is a community owned luxury safari lodge overlooking a large salt pan and waterhole fed with fresh water. The lodge is situated 30 km into the desert, reached after driving over 91 sand dunes from the turn-off at Rooibrak waterhole, 60 km northwest of Tweerivieren.

Distances between various camps for travel planning

From To Travel Time
Twee Rivieren Rest Camp Nossob Rest Camp 3.5 hrs
Twee Rivieren Rest Camp Mata-Mata Rest Camp 2.5 hrs
Twee Rivieren Rest Camp Kalahari Tent Camp 2.5 hrs
Twee Rivieren Rest Camp Grootkolk Wilderness Camp 6 hrs
Nossob Rest Camp Union’s End 3 hrs
Nossob Rest Camp Mata-Mata Rest Camp (over Kamqua dune road) 3.5 hrs
Nossob Rest Camp Bitterpan Wilderness Camp 2.5 hrs
Bitterpan Wilderness Camp Mata-Mata Rest Camp 2 hrs
Nossob Rest Camp Grootkolk Wilderness Camp 2.5 hrs
Mata-Mata Rest Camp Kalahari Tent Camp 10 min

Travel

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park spans over two countries: South Africa and Botswana. Except for some basic campsites, there are no facilities on the Botswana side and most visitors to the park go to the South Africa side. O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg is where most will arrive when visiting South Africa. Kgalagadi is located approximately 904 km. from Johannesburg. It is possible to rent a car in Johannesburg and drive from there, or you could take a connecting flight into Upington Airport (UTN) in the far Northern Cape. The distance from Upington to the Kgalagadi is 250 km.

Johannesburg -> Upington -> Twee Rivieren Rest Camp (Kgaligadi) is the most common route taken by most tourists visiting Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park from the South African side.

There are two entrance gates for the South Africa side. The first is the Twee Rivieren Gate in the south, which acts as border post with the Two Rivers gate on the Botswana side. The second is the Mata-Mata Gate, which can be entered from Namibia. Airstrips for chartered flights are available at Twee Rivieren and Nossob Camp and hired cars can be collected at Twee Rivieren if prior arrangements are made with a car rental company.

Most of the roads in the South African part of the park are accessible with an ordinary car, but high clearance (SUV or pick-up type vehicle) is preferred. Even then, it is possible to get stuck on the sandy roads, so some people might choose to play it safe and hire a 4×4.

Park Gate Timings

Month Open Close
January 06:00 19:30
February 06:00 19:30
March 06:30 19:00
April 07:00 18:30
May 07:00 18:00
June 07:30 18:00
July 07:30 18:00
August 07:00 18:30
September 06:30 18:30
October 06:00 19:00
November 05:30 19:30
December 05:30 19:30

Maps & Area

ktnp-map

Tips

  • Consult your doctor 4 to 6 weeks before your travel to ensure all precautionary medication and vaccinations are taken care of.
  • Check the weather conditions during your travel dates to ensure right type of clothing. Click here to view Current Weather
  • Some important items to carry during your trip are insect repellent, torch light and a cap/hat.
  • No pets are permitted inside the park.
  • Firearms must be declared at the gate where they will be sealed. The seal will be broken upon departure.
  • Watch out for scorpions in the summer. Always check your shoes every morning before putting them on.
  • Roads in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park are not sedan friendly. Vehicles which will be using any of the 4×4 routes should have a ground clearance of at least 20cm.
  • When driving from one rest camp to the other, travellers should depart with travelling times in mind to ensure arrival before sunset as no travelling is allowed in the park after dark.
  • In case of breakdown, stay in your vehicle and wait for the next passing vehicle for help. Do not try and walk to the next camp.
  • Tourists wanting to exit the park other than the point of entry must ensure that all immigration controls must be done at Twee Rivieren and a 2 night stay in the park is compulsory.
  • No children under the age of 12 is allowed at any of the park’s Wilderness camps.
  • Do not feed animals for you own safety as well as for the animal well-being.
  • Avoid wearing very bright cloths and fragrant perfumes while on game drives.
  • No foreign currency is accepted in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) on the South African side, only South African Rand (ZAR) is accepted.
  • 1 USD is about 11 ZAR. Click here for Currency Converter

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Prove me that you are a human, by filling in the blank