Kgalagadi

Rian Van Schalkwyk

Rian Van Schalkwyk

This 38000 square kilometer park is two thirds in Botswana and one third in South Africa. It also shares a border with Namibia. It was proclaimed a park on 31 July 1931 and was called Kalahari Gemsbok Park that time. In 1999 a treaty was signed between Botswana and South Africa to make it the first ‘peace park’ or trans frontier park in Southern Africa. It is now run as a single ecological unit.

The park consists of sand dunes of different colours, sparse vegetation and occasional trees. A few big pans also are scattered around this arid landscape. There are 2 dry riverbeds running through the park, the Nossob and Auab Rivers.  These rivers only flow on average once a century.

The average rainfall for the park is a low 38mm2/year. No wonder Kgalagadi means ‘the pace of thirst”.

Animals gather around various man-made water holes. It is truly a predator park with the impressive black mane lion as the apex predator. There are also cheetah, leopard, hyena (brown and spotted) and the smaller predators like bat- ear fox, aardwolf and honey badger. There are also about 170 bird species around with a wide variety of raptors. Animals face a lot of challenges in this park but are well adapted to live in this hot and dry ecosystem. The park is unfenced to allow free movement of animal migration.

It’s a malaria free area.

There are 3 traditional tourist lodges and 6 wilderness camps on the South African side and they are all self -catering. On the Botswana side there are numerous unfenced campsites.

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