Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park 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 park, Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa and Gemsbok National Park in Botswana. Botswana and South Africa signed in 1999 a treaty to form the first transfrontier peace park in Africa. With the support and encouragement of the Peace Parks Foundation, in May 2002, the park was officially opened.
This immense wilderness, shared by both countries is a protected area, and is jointly managed. The entire park is completely unfenced, allowing for wildlife to move freely along the ancient migration routes so necessary for their survival in the desert. Situated in the extreme southwest corner of Botswana, and adjacent to South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) is run as a single ecological unit.
There are three main areas to explore: the Nossop River valley, along the South Africa/Botswana border, the wilderness trails on the Botswana side, and what was once the Mabuasehube Game Reserve, now incorporated into KTP at its most northeastern reaches. KTP’s very beautiful terrain comprises fossil river valleys dotted with dwarfed trees and bushes, grasslands and different coloured sand dunes. Wildlife is abundant, and the animals are attracted to waterholes along the otherwise dry riverbed such as antelope, including the ubiquitous springbok and gemsbok, hartebeest, and eland can be seen, as well as the famous black-maned Kalahari lion, jackal, brown hyena, and wild cats.Rich birding is always part of the experience. Over 170 species of birds have been recorded here.
At Mabuasehube, the terrain is a mixture of typical Kgalagadi tree and shrub savanna with patches of wide open grass savanna. This area of KTP comprises a series of exceptionally large pans, which are the principle focus of the reserve. Three of the largest pans lie along the main road; these are Bosobogolo, Mpayathutlwa and Mabuasehube. All of the major predators can be seen at Mabuasehube, including the Kalahari black-maned lion, cheetah, leopard, brown hyena, bat-eared fox, lynx, and silver fox. Small mammals, like the Cape fox, aardwolf and blackfooted cat can be seen at the pans in the evening.
Access to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana: The Botswana side can be reached from places more to the east of that country, or you can enter from Twee Rivieren as well. You will need a 4wd vehicle! There are also tracks signposted from the main road along the Nossob River leading into Botswana, but you need to have your passport stamped in Twee Rivieren first! You can also enter Namibia at Mata Mata, but in order to do so again you need to have your passport stamped in Twee Rivieren (there is no South African control there) and you need to book at least 2 nights in the park itself as well. From Namibia, you can visit the park as a daytrip only.
Access to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park through South Africa: The Kgalagadi Transfontier National Park is situated approximately 250 km from Upington in the far northern Cape and 904 km from Johannesburg. Visitors driving from Johannesburg have a choice of two routes, either via Upington (255 km tarred road) or via Kuruman, Hotazel and Vanzylrus (+/- 340 km gravel). Upington airport is the nearest airport to the Park and has car-hiring facilities. All guests intending to travel to Twee Rivieren, via Vanzylrus, must note that the gravel sections are badly corrugated and travelling at high speed is not advised. Guests travelling via Upington/Askham will be doing so on a tarred road that is in good condition.