The rolling red sand dunes and endless silence are what reached into my soul and took root. If you’ve been to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park once, believe me, it won’t be your last time. You become addicted to this ancient land, once home of the Bushmen, and now a national park of 3,8 million hectares of arid savannah, dunes and grasslands straddling SA and Botswana.
What it lacks in roads, it more than makes up for with the herds of giraffe, gemsbok, wildebeest and springbok that inhabit the dry river beds snacking on the sparse green grass. The beautiful camelthorn trees that are ablaze in yellow in spring and provide a home to the huge sociable weaver bird nests. Man-made occasional borehole/waterholes attest to the fact that water is scarce here, the rivers flow every ten years (Auob) or twice in the past century (the Nossob) – proving that the Kgalagadi’s name rings true: Place of Great Thirst. Interesting fact – watering holes names like Craig Lockhardt, Dalkeith and Monro are all evidence of the Scotman Roger ‘Malkop’ Jackson, who surveyed the region post World War 1, and took the liberty of naming them.
At night you can hear the childlike cries of the black-backed jackals, interspersed with the cackle of hyenas and the grunting groans of lions mating calls. The silence, the vastness, the sands and lack of too many visitors are what make this place special, not to mention the sparse array of wildlife that have adapted to its dry conditions, extreme temperatures and little rain.