Nothing warms my heart more than the thought of road tripping into the Kgalagadi. Scanning the road sides near Upington for the first sign of sociable weaver’s nests, and stopping off at farm stalls to buy quirky crafts and the best game biltong, set the tone for what was to become an incredible trip.
It’s here in the Kgalagadi that you feel the genuine African Wilderness and it’s something of an adventure just being there. It is a place of astonishing beauty, unlike any other South African park. It’s also a park of contrasts including punishing weather as the sun bakes the earth, or rare rain showers. It has an intense beauty, unique animal sightings and remoteness. The combination creates experiences that are etched into your memory for eternity.
The size of the park itself speaks to this dramatic aspect as the Transfontier Park is 38 000km2, which makes it one of the largest conservation areas in the world. The main concentration of wildlife in the park is found along the two dried up but well treed and grassed river beds, the Nossob (east) and the Auob (west).
Both rivers are ephemeral rivers - they only flow for a short period during a very good rain season. A portion of the Auob River is said to flow approximately once every 11 years. And Nossob flows twice every 100 years. The Nossob River last flooded in 1963.
Our stay was divided between wilderness camps, chalets, camping and the eco trail as we attempted to have an allround experience and explore as much as we could of what the Kgalagadi had to offer. It goes without saying that a park this size means that you’d need to do many trips to truly uncover all the different aspects.
COMFORTABLE CHALETS TO START
We spent our first two nights in a comfortable chalet fully equipped at Twee Rivieren. We found the campsite far too busy so we changed our last night booking to chalet number 1, which was far from the madding crowds and bordering the fence line just where we wanted to be.
The Urikaruus Wilderness Camp was our next destination situated on the banks of Auob River, surrounded by camel thorn trees. This lofted camp, overlooks a water hole in the river bed. Being unfenced makes one feel at one with the Kgalagadi and its magnificent surrounds, an absolute dream for nature lovers. For your protection the camp has an armed ranger on site.