an eye for details
While preparing for my road trip through Namibia, I came across the Kgalagadi Transfrontier
Park, which is located in South Africa directly to the border with Namibia. I had never heard of
this park before so I decided to stay there for a few days. When I started reading about this
park it became clear that staying here for just a few days was not a good idea, especially if your primary goal is photography, so eventually I
expanded my stay there to five overnight stays.
Here you can order a booklet that can provide you with important information
about the Kgalagadi. I think you can order it at the local bookstore aswell
Lion pride in the Kgalagadi
From Windhoek, where my road trip started, the Kgalagadi is to far to reach in a day. I found it
irresponsible to drive to the Kgalagadi at once so I made a stop in the Kalahari, at Bagatelle Lodge, a lodge which I can
recommend everyone. The next day I drove to Mata Mata Rest camp, a rest camp directly on the border
in South Africa. Here I had made a reservation for two nights. After that I intended to go to Twee
Rivieren and stay there for two nights aswell and then return to Mata Mata for one night.
Reservations for the rest camps in the Kgalagadi can be made
During the tourist season, the available places sell out quickly. I was there in February and at that time
there was enough space available.
Raptors in the Kgalagadi
The roads in the Kgalagadi are most gravel and sand roads. I had a 4WD (with rooftop tent). I have
seen 2WD but they had considerably more difficulties with the road, but I have not seen anyone
who got stuck. There are fences between the rest camps and the park. The gates open at sunrise and
close just after sunset. Times are indicated. When I was there in February the gate opened at 5.30am
and closed at 8.30pm. When the gate opens in the morning the camp site is abandoned in a short
period of time.
The sites on Mata Mata are spacious and there is plenty of shade.
There is also a shop, you can refuel, the sanitary facilities are ok and there is a small swimming
pool. There is also a waterhole, but it is quite far from the fence of the camp. I didn't bother to
spend time there although lions and other game came to drink.
Cheetah suffocates wildebeest calf in Kgalagadi
In the Kgalagadi there are two river beds, one from the Nossob river and one from the Auob river.
Usually no water flows through the river beds. Water holes have been created along the beds and
there is water Is pumped into the water holes. The water holes attract a lot of wildlife, which
draws the predators to the water holes. So you have a good chance of encountering a wide variety of
game and predators around the water holes. There is a public facebook group where you can see where
which game has been seen. I always search for ‘kgalagadi sightings’ to find the group. Very
interesting. I have come across predators Like hyena, lions (multiple), cheetahs (multiple). Also
jackals and foxes. Lots of birds, like bee eaters, secretary bird, pigeons, sandgrous, all kinds of
birds of prey, wagtails, drongos, woodpeckers, finches,….
Old lion in the Kgalagadi
The bottom line is that you drive through the park at ease, preferably with the window open, so you
can hear the sounds of the park (it is very hot and the humidity is extremely low). Meanwhile, scan
the area in search of animals. These can be anywhere, in and under trees and bushes, close to the
road or further in the vegetation. Also keep an eye on the top of the dunes because a lot
of wildlife and also predators prefer to walk over the rim of the dunes, probably because of
the good view of the environment they have there. If there is something special going on, there are often
some cars standing still, but you also have to be sharp yourself otherwise you will miss a lot
of details. The park is not very busy, so it will often take some time before you encounter another
car. There are picnic sites throughout the park where you can get out of the car. Keep in mind that
the sites are not fenced so the animals can get there to.
Twee rivieren is similar to Mata Mata, but there is less shade. I have mainly explored the river bed
of the Nossob from Twee Rivieren. I sometimes have made game drives of ten to twelve hours looking
for interesting situations. It is often rewarding to stay in the shade of a tree and wait for the
things that are going to happen. Pay close attention to the behavior of the animals. If they are all
looking in one direction then there are probably predators around. I have experienced wonderful
situations there, such as mating lions and a cheetah which brought down a wildebeest calf. On that
occasion I was the only one in the far surroundings. A special experience. The Kgalagadi
Transfrontier Park is more than worthwhile.
All kgalagadi sightings