Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Botswana
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a notable expanse wildlife conservation area to the south of Africa positioned along the border of Botswana and South Africa composed of two National Parks that adjoin with one another namely; Gemsbok National Park on the side of Botswana and Kalahari Gemsbok on the side of South Africa. The park covers 38,000km and about ¾ of the park is within the borders of Botswana Kgalagadi which is a local word meaning a place of thirst lost half of its land to the gas fracking in Sept 2014. The park is majorly positioned in the Kalahari Desert and its geography features red sand dunes, periodical trees, sparse vegetation along with the dry river beds of Auob and Nossob rivers which are known to flow once in a century though water flows underground stimulating the growth of grass and camelthron trees on the river beds. These Rivers can flow for a short time following a heavy thunderstorm. Being in a desert area, the weather can reach extremes. The month of January is noted to be Midsummer and the temperatures can rise to over 40 degrees Celsius during day time while the winter nights can be cold to below freezing point. The extremes of -11 to 45 degrees Celsius temperature have been recorded. The rainfall is notably scarce in the area.
Read More History of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Regarding History, South Africa established the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park on July 31st 1931 to offer protection to the migrating wildlife especially the Gemsbok from human poaching. A verbal agreement was reached upon in 1948 by the two governments namely the Union of South Africa and the Bechuanaland Protectorate to identify a conservation area in the two lands and in June 1991, the representatives from the two governments in particular the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in Botswana and the South African National Parks Board established a committee that would jointly manage the place as a single ecological unit. In 1997, a management plan was approved and the mode of sharing park entrance fees was agreed upon. On April 7th 1999, two countries reached an agreement where the two states would manage their parks as a single conservation area with physical barrier in between to allow the free movement of wildlife. South African President Thabo Mbeki and Botswana President Festus Mogae on May 12th 2000 launched the first South Africa’s peace park named Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
The park is also noted to have given considerable attention to the cultural preservation of the native communities. In Oct 2002, the respective governments degazetted 580km2 to be used by the Khomani San along with the Mier Communities with the land partitioned as 277.69km2 for the Sans and 317.34km2 for the Mier. Apparently, the land is managed by the South African National Parks under a contract but the locals have retained land use rights, commercial benefits along with cultural usage.
Regarding fracking, the Botswana Government in Sept 2014 sold the frack rights to shale gas in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The prospecting licences for 29,291, 34,435 and 23,980 km² which is more than half of the Botswana’s part of the park were given to Nodding Donkey a UK listed Company but this all was done quietly. The company changed its name to Karoo Energy in Nov 2015.
Botswana Safari attractions in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Wildlife in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park features a range of wild game including large mammalian predators like Namibian Cheetahs, the Black-maned Kalahari lions, African leopards along with Hyenas; large herbivores like Buffaloes, Springbok, blue Wildebeest, Red hartebeest, the eland, Gemsbok, the meerkats, yellow mongoose, ground squirrel, Giraffe and African wild cat.
Birds in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park features 200 species of birds including raptors like buzzards, eagles and secretary birds along with vultures. Birds like the pale chanting goshawk, the spotted thick –knee along with tawny eagle exist.
Desert Vegetation in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park is positioned in Kalahari Desert thus presenting unique vegetation that is different from the other making it an attraction in itself. The stocks of sand dunes, the devils thorns which flower following good down pours, the camelthron trees that grow on the dry river beds among others combine to make the visit to the park worthwhile.
Botswana Safari Activities in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Game viewing as a Botswana Safari activity in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The game drives can be arranged both in the morning and in the afternoon allowing one to explore the amazing wild game including the Namibian Cheetahs, the Black-maned Kalahari lions, African leopards along with Hyenas; large herbivores like Buffaloes, Springbok, blue Wildebeest, Red hartebeest, the eland, Gemsbok, the meerkats and Giraffe. The drive also offers impressive sightseeing experience.
Birding as a Botswana Safari Activity in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
With 200 species of birds, the park offers birding possibilities with sights of Vultures and Raptors. Birds like the buzzards, secretary birds, pale chanting goshawk, the spotted thick –knee along with tawny eagle among others make the birding trip memorable.
Accommodation in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
There is a camp site at the main entrance of the park. Other established lodges are not yet developed though the sites have already been identified.
Google Map Showing how to get to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana
Google Map Showing the Geographical Location of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Botswana