- Northern Cape
- Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, Northern Cape
From the administrative centre, Tweerivieren, the warden of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park controls a park of 1 000 000 ha with an area of similar size immediately adjoining it across the Botswana Border. In this huge landscape of red coloured sand dunes and bush covered watercourses live more than 10 000 springbok, as well as gemsbok, cheetah, hyena, tawny-maned lion, red hartebeest, eland, kudu, wildebeest, ostrich and bat-eared fox. The animals wander at will into the park from the surrounding wilderness of the Kalahari. Bushmen also have free range over the area.
Two rivers follow their dry courses through the park - the rivers of the Tweerivieren. They are the Nossob and its tributary the Auob. Only rarely does any water flow down these watercourses, but beneath the surface there is sufficient water to provide drinking holes and to keep alive a covering of grass and trees. It is this water and grazing that attract the different species of antelope. Roads lead up the two watercourses, with a dune road linking the two at the upper end of the park.
A journey up either of the water courses, then along the dune road and back down the second water course, provides the tourist with a unique experience in wilderness travel. There are two rest camps besides Tweerivieren : Mata Mata on the south-west border and Nossob, 140 km north of Tweerivieren in the Nassob River bed. Within walking distance of Tweerivieren camp is a Bushman village which can be visited.
Plants in the park include the superb kameeldoring and other species of acacia. Their umbrella shaped canopies provide shade, while their seed pods and the tsamma mellons are staple items of food for Bushman and animal.
The park is open throughout the year and accommodation is available in family cottages and huts. There are also sites for tents and caravans.
Today, the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park forms Africa's first transfrontier park with the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana, facilitating the seasonal migration of wildlife in search of water, and the movement of free-roaming predators. The new 38000 km2 park, known as Kgalagadi ('land of thirst'), represents an increasingly rare phenomenon in the world: a vast ecosystem relatively free of human influence. The ultimate game viewing experience is to watch thousands of antelope gallop as one across the sands. Roads skirt the dry beds of the Nossob and Auob rivers and the relatively barren terrain ensures superb opportunities for observation and photography. The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park is also one of the finest areas in South Africa for viewing birds of prey. In the heat of the day, black-maned Kalahari lions shelter beneath shady bushes and leopards take refuge in the branches of camelthorn trees, while visitors may cool off in the pool at Twee Rivieren or enjoy a refreshing drink in the restaurant.
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