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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

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This page displays all information relevant to this park/camp, except the following:

Introduction

Please note:

The telephone system at Twee Rivieren in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Paek is out of order and we cannot receive calls as a result. As an alternative we can be reached at the following cell phone numbers:

  • Reception Office at Twee Rivieren:
    • Betty Jonkers – 083 937 5450
    • Jessie van Eeden – 083 273 4000
  • Tourism Manager, KTP:
    • Ben van Eeden - 083 326 8967

Where the red dunes and scrub fade into infinity and herds of gemsbok, springbok, eland and blue wildebeest follow the seasons, where imposing camel thorn trees provide shade for huge black-mane lions and vantage points for leopard and many raptors... this is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park.

An amalgamation of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa (proclaimed in 1931)and the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park comprises an area of over 3,6 million hectares – one of very few conservation areas of this magnitude left in the world.

Red sand dunes, sparse vegetation and the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob show antelope and predator species off to spectacular advantage and provide excellent photographic opportunities. Kgalagadi is also a haven for birders, especially those interested in birds of prey.

5 things to seek

  • Gemsbok – these large striking desert antelope are the emblem of the park.
  • Suricate (Meerkat) – these hyperactive little omnivores have a wonderfully intricate family structure.
  • Black-maned Kalahari Lions – Physically impressive, they are the kings of the Kalahari Desert. Article: Lions of the Kgalagadi by Lara Raubenheimer
  • Sociable weavers – the busy little birds construct huge communal nests.
  • Pygmy falcons – the park is famous for its birds of prey. This is the smallest falcon in Africa and is often seen around Sociable Weaver colonies preying on the birds.

Important Notes

  • No foreign currencies will be accepted in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) on the South African side, only ZAR (South African Rand) will be accepted within the KTP.
  • Kindly note that the roads in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park are not sedan friendly, although the roads are maintained on a monthly basis, sedan vehicles find it difficult to cope with the conditions. Vehicles which will be using any of the 4x4 routes in the park must note that the recommended ground clearance should be 190mm, to make the drive more enjoyable.
  • 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 night stay in the park is compulsory.
  • No children under the age of 12 is allowed at any of the park’s Wilderness camps.
  • Please also note that no firearms or wood will be cleared via the Mata Mata border control. Individuals wishing to clear firearms or wood should do so via Rietfontein border control.

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Accommodation

Traditional Rest Camps

Twee Rivieren

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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.

Twee Rivieren is the Park’s largest rest camp and administrative headquarters. It is situated on the banks of the Dry Nossob Riverbed. Activities and facilities are diverse, as are the animals and plants found both within the camp and in the surrounding areas. Twee Rivieren has a reception, shop, fuel, restaurant, information centre and swimming pool. This is the only camp with 24 hrs electricity and cell phone reception.

Check availability at Twee Rivieren

Mata-Mata Rest Camp

This popular rest camp offers a range of accommodation types to suit a variety of tastes and budgets including, chalets, family chalets, and camp sites.

The camp is situated on the banks of the Auob River on the western boundary of the Park. The camp borders Namibia and is surrounded by thorny Kalahari dune bushveld. Giraffe, typically adapted to these arid conditions are a favourite sight around Mata-Mata. The camp has a reception, swimming pool, shop and fuel facilities. 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.

Check availability at Mata-Mata Rest Camp

Nossob Rest Camp

Nossob offers visitors to the Kgalagadi 2 Guesthouses, a range of cottages and camping sites to suit a variety of tastes and budgets

Nossob Rest Camp is situated within the dry riverbed of the Nossob. The camp is surrounded by tree savannah and is famous for spectacular predator sightings. The camp has a reception, swimming pool, predator information centre, shop and fuel facilities. 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.

Check availability at Nossob Rest Camp

Wilderness camps

(Brochure available in PDF format)

Please note:

1) In order to retain the tranquility and exclusiveness of the wilderness camps we do not exceed 8 people per camp.
2) Chidren under 12 years are not allowed at these camps: Kieliekrankie, Urikaruus, Gharagab, Bitterpan, Grootkolk.

Bitterpan

NB: This camp is NOT fenced and a Tourism Assistant is on duty at all times.

Elevated above the red sand dunes of the Kalahari and suspended in time is Bitterpan – an exclusive, stilted camp overlooking a waterhole. Bitterpan is situated in the center of the wilderness opening up a new 4x4 route through the Kalahari dunes from Nossob to Mata-Mata and the Kalahari Tent Camp. It is on a ONE-WAY route starting from Nossob. 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 4x4 route, but BIG 4x4’s such as Unimogs (heavy vehicle 4x4) are not allowed.

Guests should consider staying at Nossob before their departure for Bitterpan, as it is an approximately 3 hours drive from Nossob along a one-way 4x4 route. Guests much check in to Bitterpan at Nossob. They cannot do so at Twee Rivieren or Mata-Mata. Nossob itself is at least a three-and-a-half hour drive from Twee Rivieren.

Visitors to Bitterpan should please note the following:

  • NB. The camp and its access roads are strictly for the use of its residents only!
  • Visitors must supply their own firewood or charcoal
  • Visitors must supply their own drinking water
  • No Trailers (even 4x4 trailers) will be permitted.
  • Visitors should be aware that there is limited driving opportunity once at the camp.
  • Only a one-way 15 km game drive, however visitors staying longer than one night may use the escape route to Moravet to go onto the tourist routes and back.
  • The entrance and exit roads (and the 15 km game drive) are strictly one-way.
  • No fuel and no shop, nearest facilities at Nossob and Mata-Mata.
Check availability at Bitterpan

Grootkolk

NB: This camp is NOT fenced and Tourism Assistant is on duty at all times.

The perfect retreat for special occasions, or simply just to get away from it all. The camp 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.

Visitors to Grootkolk should please note the following:

  • There are 4 x 2 bed chalets with bedroom, ceiling fan, bathroom and kitchen on veranda. (One unit is accessible for visitors with mobility impairment)
  • Each chalet is equipped with cutlery, crockery, linen, fridge and braai
  • Communal kitchen and barbecue areas available
  • The chalets are made from sand bags and canvas
  • There is GAS for hot water and cooking and SOLAR for lighting
  • Waterhole
Check availability at Grootkolk

Kalahari Tented Camp

NB: This camp is NOT fenced and a Tourism Supervisor is on duty at all times.

Situated high up on a red sand dune, overlooking a waterhole in the dry bed of the ancient Auob River, the Kalahari Tent Camp welcomes you to capture the spirit of the land of thirst. This exclusive getaway for the discerning visitor, boasts 15 desert tents each elegantly decorated with rustic finishes using wood, sand and canvas exteriors al in the resonate colours of the park. 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. The camp is designed in such a way that residents feel they have only themselves and the desert for company.

Visitors to Kalahari Tent Camp should please note the following:

  • NB. The camp and access road are strictly for the use of residents only!
  • Visitors must supply their own firewood or charcoal
  • Visitors must supply their own drinking water
  • No fuel and no shop, closest facilities at Mata-Mata

The camp features the following facilities:

  • 1 luxury honeymoon desert tent
  • 4 family desert tents (two beds and a stack bed)
  • 10 two-bed desert tents (Two of the units have been made accessible to visitors with mobility impairment)
  • Tents consist of a bedroom with ceiling fan, bathroom and kitchen
  • Each tent is equipped with cutlery, crockery, linen, fridge and braai
  • There is GAS for hot water and cooking and SOLAR for lighting
  • A swimming pool is available
  • Waterhole
Check availability at Kalahari Tented Camp

Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp

Guests have to provide their own drinking water and firewood.

Situated 50 km (one-and-a-half hours) drive away from Twee Rivieren on the Southern Dune Road. The closest shop and fuel supply is at Twee Rivieren, where guests who have booked Kieliekrankie also checks in. The camp is unfenced, and there is a tourism assistant on duty. Sunk into a dune, with endless views of the red Kalahari sands. This unique self-catering wilderness camp will be accessible by passenger vehicles.

The camp has 3 x DC2 (Dune Cabin) and 1 x DC2Z (Dune Cabin - Adapted for use by the mobility impaired).

Each unit has 2 single beds, a bathroom with w/c and shower, an equipped kitchen with gas fridge / freezer, solar power for lights, gas for hot water and braai facilities on a deck.

Check availability at Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp

Urikaruus Wilderness Camp

Guests have to provide their own drinking water and firewood.

Situated 72 km (two hours) drive away from Twee Rivieren on the road to Mata Mata between the veil of old camelthorn trees, overlooks the Auob River. The closest shop and fuel supply is at Twee Rivieren, where guests who have booked Urikaruus also checks in. The camp is unfenced, and there is a tourism assistant on duty. The camp has 4 x Riverside Cabins built on stilts and connected by a plank way. Urikaruus is accessible by passenger vehicles.

Each unit has 2 single beds, a bathroom with w/c and shower, an equipped kitchen with gas fridge / freezer, solar power for lights, gas for hot water and braai facilities on a deck.

Check availability at Urikaruus Wilderness Camp

Gharagab Wilderness Camp

Guests have to provide their own drinking water and firewood.

Located in the far northern region of the park, will provide guests with elevated views of Kalahari dunes and the thornveld savannah. Situated 164 km (four hours) drive north of Nossob on the road to Unions End. The closest shop and fuel supply is at Nossob, where guests who have booked Gharagab also checks in. The camp is unfenced, and there is a tourism assistant on duty. The camp is accessable by 4x4 vehicles only, travelling on a one-way access road that is open to Gharagab residents only.

The camp has 4 x LC2 (Log Cabin) units.

Each unit has 2 single beds, a bathroom with w/c and shower, an equipped kitchen with gas fridge / freezer, solar power for lights, gas for hot water and braai facilities on a deck.

Check availability at Gharagab Wilderness Camp

Tariffs

To view the accommodation prices, refer to Tariffs

Luxury Safari Lodge

!Xaus Lodge

!Xaus Lodge

!Xaus Lodge “A place to experience, not merely observe.”

!Xaus Lodge’s isolation allows you to experience the unspoiled splendour of the vast, arid Kgalagadi Park.

Crafted to blend into the landscape, this 24 bed thatched luxury safari lodge, owned by the ‡Khomani San and Mier communities, overlooks a large salt pan. Relax on the viewing deck and observe the animals at the waterhole below, cool off in the plunge pool or browse through the curio shop.

Join our guides on a morning wilderness walk through the dunes. ‘Listen’ to the sun set on an early evening drive or enjoy an after-dinner game-drive, with the accompanying desert sounds. ‘Touch’ the stars as you gaze at the splendour of the night sky.

Meet the Bushmen, legendary hunter-gatherers, at work in the serenity of their craft village and marvel at the tastes of the Mier’s unique culinary offerings.

And then, fulfilled in spirit recall the words of Laurens van der Post: “This ancient African land seen through the eyes of the Bushmen is mystical, magical and spiritual”

For reservations and more information about !Xaus Lodge, contact:


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Birding in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

General Birding

The Kalagadi Transfrontier Park has a list of approximately 280 species of which only about 92 are resident. The remainder comprises mainly nomadic, migratory and vagrant species, which number about 17, 50 and 121 respectively.

A variety of raptors may be seen, the commonest being Tawny and Black-breasted (chested) Snake Eagle, Bateleur, White-backed and Lappet-faced Vulture, as well as smaller species such as Pale Chanting Goshawk, Gabar Goshawk, Pygmy Falcon and Greater Kestrel.

Less common are Martial Eagle and Red-necked Falcon. Barn, Spotted and Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle Owl are common, while Pearl-spotted Owlet, White-faced and African Scops-Owl may also be seen.

Larks and Sparrowlarks (Finchlarks) are abundant particularly after good rains which is also a good time to see seed-eaters such as Violet-eared Waxbill, Black-throated Canary, Shaft-tailed Whydah and Lark-like Bunting. Kori Bustard is common along both the Auob and Nossob riverbeds with Ludwig’s Bustard being relatively common during summer.

Twee Rivieren

Species that can be seen throughout the year include White-browed Sparrowweaver (which breeds in the camp), Crimson-breasted Shrike, Brubru, Pririt Batis, Black-chested Prinia, Yellow-bellied Eremomela, Common Scimitar-bill, Red-eyed Bulbul, Marico Flycatcher, Red-headed Finch and Yellow Canary. These species are however all widespread in the park.

During the summer months species such as Diderick Cuckoo, Willow and African Marsh Warbler, as well as Barn (European), Greater Striped, South African Cliff and White-throated Swallow amongst others may be seen. All occurring swallows are widespread in the park during summer.

Rufous-cheeked Nightjar can also be heard at night during summer.

Other species present in summer are Spotted Flycatcher, Cape White-eye and Long-billed Crombec.

The winter season is a good period for spotting Fairy Flycatcher and Dusky Sunbird that move into the park. Spotted Eagle Owls are resident in camp and Pearl-spotted Owlet and Whitefaced Owl may occasionally be heard or seen. European, White-rumped, Little and Bradfield’s Swift ay be seen during the rainy season while passing through.

Mata Mata

This camp exhibits a variety of typical woodland birds that may also be found in and along the dry river courses of the park.

Species that are present year round include Cardinal and Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Hoopoe, Pied Barbet, Swallowtailed Bee-eater, Ashy Tit, Glossy Starling and Southern Grey-headed Sparrow.

Pearl-spotted Owlet and Whitefaced Owl are also common while Scops Owl can be seen or heard in some years.

Striped Kingfisher occurs throughout the year and may be heard calling from the riverbed outside the camp. Great Spotted Cuckoo can also be seen in summer during some years.

Nossob

Nossob Camp and its surrounds exhibit a blend of species typical of the other camps, and has the added attraction of a wide variety of raptor species.

Typical birds of the camp include Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill, Glossy and Burchell’s Starling (mainly in winter), Cape (Black) Crow, Fork-tailed Drongo, Kalahari Scrub Robin and Violet-eared Waxbill.

A special to look out for is the Great Sparrow that frequents the campsite as well as the surrounding waterholes.

Summer migrants include European Golden Oriole, Jacobin Cuckoo, Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrike. Other species that move into the area during summer are Marico Sunbird and Long-billed Crombec.

Riverbeds

The two dry riverbeds in the park, namely the Nossob and Auob, support a wide spectrum of bird species and are the focus points of bird activity.

The higher number and density of bird species may be primarily attributed to the large camel thorn trees (Acacia erioloba) found along these river courses, which provide important nesting and roosting sites for a variety of birds. Although the two riverbeds essentially support similar bird populations, some species are more likely to be encountered in one or the other.

Nossob Riverbed

The Nossob Riverbed is rated as one of the best places in South Africa to view raptors, particularly during the summer months when large numbers of migratory eagles, kites and falcons move through the park. Resident raptors are few and often far between throughout the whole park, although some species may be common during the summer season.

Resident eagles to be seen include Martial, Tawny, Bateleur, Black-breasted (-chested) and Brown Snake Eagle (which is somewhat uncommon), while the migrant species include Steppe, Wahlberg’s, Booted and Lesser Spotted Eagle.

Other migratory raptors include Black and Yellow-billed Kite, Steppe Buz za rd, Montagu’s and Pallid Harrier, European Hobby, and a number of kestrel species.

Black Harrier and Gymnogene occur as vagrants and can be seen at any time throughout the year.

Species that are irregularly seen in the extreme northern reaches of the Nossob are Rosy-faced Lovebird and Grey Hornbill. The latter has also been recorded from Twee Rivieren during the winter months when there appears to be some northward movement of these birds from areas south of the park.

Groundscraper Thrush is reasonably common and can be found under or near the canopies of Camel Thorns, where they feed on the ground.

Bokmakierie is a species not easily seen and appears to be shyer that the birds in the southern and eastern parts of its distribution. African (Grassveld/Richard’s) Pipits may be seen during particular years in the patches of short grasslands of the riverbed, and where the patches of grass are dense and long, one is bound to find Desert Cisticola.

The wet season (November to March) marks the time when numerous migrating storks and other water related birds find their way into the park.

Large numbers of White and Abdim’s Stork can be seen feeding on insects along the riverbed, while less common species such as Black and Marabou Stork may be found in limited numbers near waterholes. Unusual species which are either migrating or that are blown off course by strong winds may also be found by chance, such as members of the heron, egret and duck families.

Waders such as Little Stint, Ruff, Black-winged Stilt, Three-banded Plover and sandpipers amongst others, may also stop over to utilise the waterpoints for feeding.

Auob Riverbed

Birds that should be looked out for in the riverbed include Striped Kingfisher, Green (Red-billed) Woodhoopoe, Purple Roller, Capped Wheatear, Mountain Chat and Short-toed Rock Thrush (the latter two species are only occasionally seen in winter).

Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle Owl can be spotted in dense camel thorn trees, particularly along the short loop roads along the northern part of the riverbed. The waders as described for the Nossob River may also be found after rainstorms either at large water pools or waterholes,

Dune Roads

There are 2 roads that cross the duneveld in the park, the one being 55 km long the other 35km. These roads traverse mainly through open grassland with occasional shrubs and trees, and provide many birders with good views of a number of species.

Birds to look out for on these roads are Ant-eating Chat, Rufous-eared Warbler, Chat Flycatcher, Cape Penduline Tit, Clapper, Spike-heeled and Fawn-coloured Lark.

Grey-backed and Black-eared Sparrowlark (Finchlark), Pink-billed and Stark’s Lark may be found after good summer rains where there is an abundance of grass seed. Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark (Finchlark) has been recorded in the park and may also be seen.

One should also look for Burchell’s and Namaqua Sandgrouse that frequent the verges of these roads. With luck some Buffy Pipit may be found in limited numbers in he dune areas.

Kurrichane Buttonquail, Common and Harlequin Quail have all been recorded and may be seen (with an exceptional amount of alertness and luck) where grass patches are dense.

The Northern Black Korhaan and the less obtrusive Red-crested Korhaan may be seen anywhere in the duneveld together with the Double-banded Courser which is easily overlooked while driving.

Thornveld and Botswana Wilderness Trail (including the Mabuasehube area)

The Acacia thorn savanna that characterises the areas covered by wilderness trail and the Mabuasehube section of the Kalahari Transfrontier Park, supports additional species that are rarely encountered along the wooded riverbeds.

These species include Southern Pied Babbler, Bennett’s and Bearded Woodpecker, Brown-crowned (Three-streaked) Tchagra, Helmeted Guineafowl, Red-billed Francolin and Little Banded Goshawk.

Species such as Golden-breasted Bunting and Black-faced (Black-cheeked) Waxbill have been recorded but are not easily found.

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People with disabilities

Wheelchair Access

Accommodation

Three chalets at Twee Rivieren, one reed-cabin at Bitterpan and two desert tents at Kalahari Tented Camp have access ramps and accessible ablutions (roll-in shower).

All these units have certain access flaws. The park management has been given corrective instruction how to upgrade these and perhaps users will find some of these executed. There is also an accessible ablution block (roll-in shower) at Nossob Camp for campers, while accessible camping ablutions were added to Twee Rivieren in 2005. Mata-Mata has an accessible public toilet. Of the 3 Wilderness Camps launched opened in November 2004, only Kieliekrankie has a cabin that is adapted for use by people in wheelchairs. Urikaruus, up on stilts and Gharagab, on top of a sand dune (4x4 only) have no accessible units.

Twee Rivieren Rest Camp:

Cottage (FA2Z)

The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The cottage features one bedroom with two single beds and a bathroom with shower. The kitchen is fully-equipped and includes a two-plate stove and fridge/freezer. The unit also offers an aircon.

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Family Cottage (FA2/4ZA)

The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The cottage features one bedroom with two single beds, two single beds (in kitchen area) and a bathroom with a shower. The kitchen is fully-equipped and includes a two-plate stove and fridge/freezer. The unit also offers an aircon.

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Mata Mata Rest Camp:

River Front Chalet (RF4Z)

The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The chalet features two bedrooms, each with two single beds and an en-suite bathroom with a shower. The kitchen is fully-equipped. The patio braai area overlooks the riverbed. The unit also offers an aircon and DSTV (limited channels). Please note that there is no electricity from 21:30 - 05:00, daily.

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Nossob Rest Camp:

Chalet (CH3Z)

The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The chalet features one bedroom with three single beds and a bathroom with a shower.. The kitchen is equipped with a fridge, hotplate and utensils. The unit also offers a fan and a Pergola and Braai. Please note that there is no electricity from 21:30 - 05:00, daily.

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Bitterpan Wilderness Camp:

Reed Cabin (RCZ2)

The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The cabin features two single beds. The bathroom with shower is separate. There is a communal kitchen and braai area. The camp utilises gas and solar energy. No children under 12 allowed.

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Kalahari Tented Camp:

Desert Tent (DTZ2)

The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The tent features one bedroom with two single beds, a bathroom with shower and kitchen. The camp utilises gas and solar energy. Visitors can relax on the wooden deck which includes a braai.

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Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp:

Dune Cabin (DC2Z)

The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The cabin features two single beds, a bathroom with shower, equipped kitchen with gas fridge/freezer and a deck with braai facilities. Own drinking water and firewood has to be provided for. The cabin uses solar power for lights and gas for hot water.

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Please note:

Accommodation images may differ from the actual units as refurbishment of various accommodation types occur on an on-going basis.

Accessible Activities & Facilities

  • The park’s appeal is certainly its wilderness. Limited facilities exist for all guests. The predator centre and hide at Nossob and the information centre at Twee Rivieren are all accessible.

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