The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is located in the most northerly part of South Africa – the Northern Cape. This conservation area extends over the border of Botswana and is ideal for birding and predator sightings.
The park’s vegetation is sparse with Camel Thorn trees providing the much-needed shade for the animals. Many waterholes can be found across the park with most being on the border of South Africa and Botswana. As the animals in the Kgalagadi are dispersed over this large area, expect to be very patient at a waterhole or to spend a lot of time driving from one waterhole to the next.
The Kgalagadi has over 200 bird species which can be found in every direction – from inquisitive sparrows sitting on the fence, owls sleeping in the trees, eagles soaring in the sky and vultures waiting for their next meal in the background of a kill. If birds aren’t your thing, expect to be impressed by large mammals such as Black-maned Lions, beautiful leopards, lightning-fast cheetahs, and the not-so-pretty Spotted and Brown Hyena. Other animals such as the Black-backed Jackal, Yellow Mongoose, Cape Ground Squirrel, Gemsbok, and Springbok are common sightings across the park. Giraffes can be found in the southern part of the park near Mata-Mata Rest Camp where the trees are taller and lions seem to not be around.
The park has a variety of accommodation options on each side of the border. Twee Rivieren Camp is the entrance to the park from the South African side and is the only camp with cell phone reception and 24 hours of electricity. Kielie Krankie, Urikaruus, Kalahari Tent Camp and Grootkolk are a few others on the South African side while camping options are throughout the Botswana side of the park.
Guided game drives are available from Twee Rivieren, Nossob, Mata-Mata, and Kalahari Tent Camp. There are also a few 4×4 trails for the adventure-seeker as well as six picnic spots in the open areas of the park. Here you have the possibility of parking your car, only to see a sleeping lion next to the picnic bench you were eyeing from a few meters down the road.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a must-do African safari experience even if it is only to see some of the 450 lions roaming the park. You will be surprised at how many other animals can be spotted throughout. Just be sure to have enough ice and ways to keep cool if you visit during December and January when the weather is unbearably hot.