Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Originally known as the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was the first of the transfrontier zones to be created in Southern Africa.
This stunning 3,6 million hectare reserve is the result of the amalgamation of South Africa’s Kalahari Gemsbok National Park and Botswana’s Mabuasehube-Gemsbok Park.
Genet Nature & Birding Tours offers private tours to the South African section of the Kgalagadi, either from Upington Airport, or overland from Cape Town, taking in the Augrabies Falls National Park en route.

The word “Kalahari” is derived from the San kgalagadi, which means “thirsty land”, and gemsbok is the name of the graceful grey, white and black antelope that wanders the plains of the mighty Kgalagadi. The gemsbok is superbly adapted to desert conditions, and is able to survive for months on end without water. It has an unusually low metabolic rate, which lessens its need for food and water, and its unique physiology is fashioned to conserve both energy and fluids, a strategy for survival in a hostile environment.

The many birds, reptiles, predators and prey species that inhabit this unique ecosystem are part of a fascinating cycle of events that changes with the seasons and moods of the Kgalagadi.

Kgalagadi lions are strikingly beautiful animals, some of them with bold black manes and large amber eyes, seemingly larger and more handsome than lions in other areas of Africa.

lioness - please click to enlarge Kgalagadi lion - please click to enlarge

Perhaps it is the backdrop of stunning red sand dunes and majestic camelthorns that has captivated the hearts and minds of the many explorers that have revelled in this wilderness.

It is also the activities and traits of the many smaller animals that make a visit to the Kgalagadi so memorable and different from any other wildlife experience.

Watch, in awe, as…

A yellow cobra raids a sociable weavers’ nest
Bat-eared foxes scurry about in search of termites
A mother cheetah scans the dry riverbed for her springbok prey
Ground squirrels, endearing “little people” of the Kgalagadi, busily gather nesting material
The brave meerkat sentinel scans intently for aerial predators
A lone wildebeest bull slakes his thirst at the waterhole
The lanner falcon appears out of nowhere and scatters the doves at lightning speed
A stealthy jackal prowls the campsite at night
The king  of the Kgalagadi roars proudly under the hunter’s moon
An African wild cat soaks up the early morning sun
The elusive brown hyaena disappears into the darkness of the night

This is the life blood of the Kgalagadi

The Kgalagadi is also a popular destination for wildlife photographers,
who claim that the desert light is a photographer’s dream.
It is also a great place for raptors and because of the sparseness of the vegetation and the position of waterholes around the park, raptor viewing is good and is especially productive during late summer when the termites emerge and attract a variety of migrant raptors and vagrant birds.

Genet Nature & Birding Tours offers birders a unique opportunity to observe and photograph a variety of bird species and to witness the everyday interactions between the birds and animals of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

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Kim also works as a freelance wild life illustrator