Botswana :: Kgalagadi
Category: Protected Areas :: Protected Area
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was the first African game park proclaimed across international borders; it was formed by the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (South Africa) established in 1931, and two Botswana game parks - the Gemsbok National Park (proclaimed in 1971) and the Mabuasehube Game Reserve (incorporated into the Gemsbok National Park in 1992). The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park covers an area of 35 551 km², of which 73% is Botswanan territory.Traveller Description
The Gemsbok National Park is vast - in low season travellers may not see another vehicle for a day or two. Accommodation consists of rustic, unfenced campsites which have very basic ablutions and no running water. A wilderness feeling second to none!
On the park's eastern side, the popular campsites in the Mabuasehube region are surrounded by large pans which fill with water from time to time, attracting game including predators like cheetah and the famous black-maned Kalahari lions.
|565km or 12h43min W of Gaborone, Kgalagadi, Botswana
|The Parks and Reserves Reservation
|+267 31 807 74
|+267 39 714 05
|Host Website :
|Cellphone Reception :
Entry to the Park can be gained through five gates in three different countries, including South Africa through the Twee Rivieren gate, Namibia through the Mata Mata gate and from Botswana through the Two Rivers, Mabuasehube and Kaa gates.
From Central Gauteng The Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park is situated approximately 250 km from Upington and 904 km from Johannesburg.
There are a choice of two routes if you are driving from Johannesburg, either via Upington (255 km tarred road) or via Kuruman, Hotazel and Vanzylrus.
The nearest airport is Upington and has car-hiring facilities. If travelling to Twee Rivieren via Vanzylrus, do not drive at high speeds as the gravel sections are badly corrugated.
|Motorbikes Not Welcome
|Closest Town :
FACILITIES, SERVICES & WATER:
While most campsites have an A-frame shelter for shade, a bucket shower and a chemical long-drop toilet, some may have no facilities - it’s best to check when booking what facilities are available on your site. There’s no water in the park so travellers must be self-sufficient with regards to water, fuel and food.
There’s no cell phone reception, fuel or food supplies on the Botswana side of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The nearest fuel and food is available at Tsabong town, 112km south from the Mabuasehube Entrance Gate, or at Nossob Rest Camp. But travellers shouldn’t rely on the availability of fuel here as the park is known to run out from time to time.
(These are the official open and closing times, but may vary on the day)
January/February: 06:00 -19:30
TRAILS & PERMITS:
The Boso Trail is a deep sandy track stretching west from Bosobogolo pan towards the South African border; one can enter the South African side of the park at Nossob Rest Camp (park fees payable at the gate) or turn south towards Rooiputs and the Two Rivers Campsite, and remain in Botswana.
Running parallel to the Boso Trail, you’ll find the Mabua-Nossob Wilderness Trail. This requires a special permit to travel and runs in one direction from Mabuasehube to Nossob Rest Camp. Parallel to park’s northern border, the Mabuasehube-Kaa trail runs between Mabuasehube and Kaa Gate. The Polentswa and Kaa trails provide game drives in the north-western section of the park; here, Namibia forms the western border of the northern region. Permits for the trails are available from the DWNP reservations office in Gaborone.
There is no fuel, drinking water or food available in the Botswana side of the Kgalagadi and visitors are advised to bring their own. Petrol, diesel and shops are available on the South African side at Twee Rivieren.
Off-road trailers are not allowed on the wilderness trails but are allowed to the normal campsites around the various pans. (eg. You may tow from Mabua to Nossob, but on the wilderness trails). It is also always advisable to check directly with the park authorities.
Take note that there is thick sand and the towing will be much more difficult than on normal roads. Fuel consumption will go up so keep that in mind when planning how much fuel you take. One also needs good driving skills, as pulling a trailer with that kind of weight it becomes a plough in the sand so the towing vehicle needs to be strong and have good traction.
Some of the wilderness trails are so overgrown you’re not going to manoeuvre a vehicle and trailer anyway.
Other travelling distances is as follows: 280 km Kaa gate to Maun: 797 km Mabuasehube gate to Gaborone: 533 km Mabuasehube gate to Maun: 787 km Mabuasehube gate to Tsabong: 115 km Two Rivers to Gaborone: 810 km Two Rivers.
Prior booking for 4x4 Routes are essential, for these routes and can only be contemplated in a single direction as a whole. Mabuasehube Wilderness Trail (starting at Mabuasehube) 155 km Wilderness Trail (starting at Polentswa) These routes allows access to within Botswana but can only be driven with a 4x4.
DWNP Gaborone: +267 39 714 05 or +267 31 807 74.
A 4x4 vehicle is necessary to access the Botswana side of the Park and all routes within Botswana are to be travelled by no less than two vehicles.
You are not allowed to collect firewood in the Kgalagadi.
The Tourist Info Office number is the number of the Department of Wildlife Botswana who must be phoned for National Park information and reservations. Only the main camps in the park have very mineralised drinking water, best to bring your own drinking water. The roads in the Kgalagadi are not sedan friendly!
On the South-African side of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Sanparks require a minimum two night stay if you enter the park from Botswana and plan to exit at Twee Rivieren Border Post. As an alternative, travellers can turn south and travel via Rooiputs to exit the park at Two Rivers on the Botswana side, and use the Bokspits Border Post to enter South Africa.
“Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Vital Information Important Visitor Information The following information will be useful for your visit to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Shops in Mata Mata, Nossob and Twee Rivieren camps sell basic commodities. There are no credit/debit card facilities at any of the shops, except for Twee Rivieren. Vehicle fuel is available in all parks (or is available on the park periphery) and in the main rest camps in Kruger and Kgalagadi. South African legislation stipulates that fuel stations will accept legitimate petrol/fuel/garage/credit/debit cards or cash as a form of payment for any fuel purchase. Twee Rivieren is the only camp with a restaurant and public telephones (card and coin). Guests travelling to Twee Rivieren via Upington (Askham) must note that the tarring of the road has been completed. The road via Van Zylsrus must not be driven at a high speed as the gravel section on this route is badly corrugated. Kindly note that the roads in the Kgalagadi are not sedan friendly, although management intervenes to maintain on a monthly basis. Swimming pools at Twee Rivieren, Kalahari Tent camps, Mata Mata and Nossob camps. Power points at camping sites, in Twee Rivieren, Mata Mata and Nossob camps. Hide at waterhole in Mata Mata and Nossob camps. Waterhole at Bitterpan, Grootkolk, Kieliekrankie, Urikaruus, Gharagab and Kalahari Tent camps. Info centre at Twee Rivieren camp. Predator centre at Nossob camp. Bitterpan, Grootkolk, Kieliekrankie, Urikaruus, Gharagab and Kalahari Tent camps are not fenced. Guests staying at Bitterpan, Grootkolk, Kieliekrankie, Urikaruus, Gharagab and Kalahari Tent camps must take own wood and drinking water. Only guests staying at Bitterpan and Gharagab are allowed to make use of 4X4 road to Bitterpan and Gharagab. NO TRAILERS ALLOWED. Closest shop to Kalahari Tent camp is at Mata Mata camp (3 km away). Departure time for the Nossob 4 x 4 eco-trail from Twee Rivieren or Nossob camp is 09:00. For trails that start in Twee Rivieren, it is advisable to book the night after the trail, in Nossob camp. Distance from Upington 60 km. NB: Visitors must allow for the following travelling time from Twee Rivieren entrance gate, to the other camps: Nossob - 4 hours Grootkolk - 7.5hours Gharagab - Not possible in one day Bitterpan - 6.5 hours Kieliekrankie -1.5 hours Urikaruus - 2.5 hours Kalahari Tent Camp - 3.5 hours Mata Mata - 3.5 hours Tourists wanting to exit the park other than the point of entry must kindly note that all immigration controls must be done at Twee Rivieren / Two Rivers, and that a 2 day stay in the park is compulsory. Climate The Kalahari is a semi-arid region with an average rainfall of 150mm in the southwest to 350mm in the northeast. The unreliable and irregular rains fall mostly during dramatic thunderstorms, often accompanied by strong winds and dust-storms, between November and April. The first rains transform the red dunes, covering them with the fresh yellow flowers of the dubbeltjie, Tribulus terrestris. Within two weeks fresh green grass begins to grow, but if the rains do not return, the vegetation will soon wither and the thirstland once again becomes apparent. Temperatures vary greatly from -11Â°C on cold winter nights to 42Â°C in the shade on summer days when the ground surface temperature reaches a sizzling 70Â°C. During the winter months, when frost is common, the ground surface temperature can be 25Â°C lower that the temperature of the air. Winter in the Kalahari is a cool, dry season from September to October and then a hot, wet season from November to April. Day travellers There are communal ablution facilities at Twee Rivieren, Nossob and Mata Mata rest camps and picnic sites at Melkvlei, 50 km (north of Twee Rivieren), Dikbaardskolk, 56 km (South of Nossob) and at Kamqua between Twee Rivieren and Mata-Mata. Official hours Office Hours: 07:30 to sundown Tips & Hints Pets are not allowed in a National Park. Firearms must be declared at the gate where they will be sealed. The seal will be broken upon departure. Shoes are essential on summer evenings for protection against the possibility of scorpion stings. Keep an emergency supply of 10 litres water in your vehicle. In the event of a breakdown, remain in your vehicle Ã¢â¬â it is the safest place. This is a low risk malaria area. Consult your chemist. Roads in the park have gravel surfaces. Light aircraft may land on a tarred runway at Twee Rivieren. Prior permission must be obtained from the Park. Hired cars may be collected at Twee Rivieren provided that an advance booking was made. The travelling time from the entrance gate at Twee Rivieren to Nossob Rest Camp is 3.5 hours and to Mata Mata is 2.5 hours. 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. Visitors to Botswana Camping is available at Polentswa, Rooiputs, Two Rivers and in Mabuasehube. A 4x4 vehicle is necessary to access the Botswana side of the Park. Contact InformationIn case of emergency in South Africa: Contact our staff at reception or at staff houses. Upington Medi-Clinic tel: (054) 3388900 Botswana: Maun tel. 00267 6860444 or Gaborone tel. 00267 3901999 Medical Rescue: tel. 00267 3901601 or contact your nearest camp with radio communication For enquiries e-mail Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park or phone us on the following numbers: Park tel: + 27 (0) 54 561 2000 Fax: + 27 (0) 54 561 2005 Tourism Manager: Dupel Erasmus” - Brian Lipschitz, 2009/11/04