Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park
Once you arrive at the airport in Upington you will meet your local guide and zoologist escort and be transferred the 250km towards the enormous Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. This park borders South Africa, Namibia and Botswana and allows migrations to occur between different habitats and as a result there are large populations of animals here. But for today we will just check into the accommodation, level – Safari Rest Camps or Lodge; and relax with an evening meal before beginning to explore the park tomorrow.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park
For the next 4 full days we will explore some of this vast park, we will spend full days inside the park, only returning to the accommodation, level – Safari Rest Camps or Lodge; for your breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is one of the largest national parks in the world and is so large that many of animals that live here still run their full migration routes. In fact it is one of the few places where eland still migrate as they have always done. During these 4 days here the mornings and late afternoons will be very important as we hope to find the famous black-maned lions, spotted hyenas, leopards, cheetahs as well as the more common gemsbok, blue wildebeest, springbok and red hartebeest. But one of the best aspects of mammal watching in Kgalagadi is spending time searching for some of the rarer species that inhabit the park such as meerkats, honey badgers, ground pangolins, bat-eared foxes and brown hyena. The birdlife here is also prolific, for such an arid and dry looking habitat the range of life here is just staggering. There are around 280 species of birds recorded from here and various species can be found without much difficulty. In the evenings we can also arrange a spotlighting night drive where many of the rare mammals can be spotted as they emerge from dens, trees, holes and dense bushes for a night of foraging.
Witsand Kalahari Reserve
This morning you will be transferred south back towards Upington, but we will travel further to the Witsand Kalahari Reserve, this drive will take you through the mosaic of wild Kalahari habitat and private farmland. Once you arrive at the accommodation, 3* guest house (Witsand Kalahari Reserve) the rest of the day will be free for you to relax after the long drive down here. If you wish then after dark we can have a short night drive to try and find aardvarks, pangolins or black-footed cats.
Witsand Kalahari Reserve
During the next 3 days you will be taken around the reserve of Witsand, there are many species of rare and unusual mammals and birds that live here. We will have morning and afternoon game drives or guided walks around the reserve before spotlighting after dark. Your meals will be served in the accommodation, level 3* guest house (Witsand Kalahari Reserve) in between the game drives and allow you plenty of time to rest as a major focus of our wildlife watching will be done at night. This is when we have the chance of seeing ground pangolins and black-footed cats that occur here and hopefully we will catch a glimpse of one of them here. These animals are of course very tough to see (even here where they are relatively common) so luck is needed to see any of them. The bird life in the reserve is also good and there are three species of sandgrouse, African pygmy flacon, crimson-breated shirke and Kori bustard as well as dozens of other species that can be found here are the order of the day. Whilst here we will also spend some time on foot looking for the wonderful bushveld elephant shrew, mole-rats and other small mammals. To try and find the ground pangolins we will concentrate our efforts on the Brulsand, which translates to Roaring Sand; the area for this is a known pangolin haunt. The pangolin will probably be the toughest species to find on this tour and we will return here each late afternoon and evening to see if we can find one. But during the day there are some large mammals that can be found here such as gemsbok, red hartebeest and springbok.
After breakfast we head for Kimberley and more specifically our accommodation, level – 3* guest house (Marrick Game Farm) for the next 3 nights. This pleasant working farm will be our base camp for the next few days. On our first night we will look for an aardvark, which has burrowed quite close to the lodge in the past and as a result had become fairly habituated towards humans, well as habituated as the usual elusive aardvark can get. During this evening excursion we might also encounter bat-eared fox and aardwolf, both of which are quite common here.
Days 11 & 12
During the next couple of days you will be taken to explore the land around our accommodation, level 3* guest house (Marrick Game Fame) as well as another nearby farm called Benfontien Game Farm. These areas are excellent wildlife watching locations. We will also split our time and during the day head off in search of larger species like black wildebeest, giraffe, eland, gemsbok and possibly the beautiful caracal. We will also hike around looking for smaller mammals and reptiles and whilst bird watching there is a good chance of seeing the blue cranes (as a pair breed here every year) and the double-banded courser is a common visitor during the winter. Then after dinner we will spotlight for the rarer mammals, Benfontein Game Fame is a particularly good area for the smallest species of cat in Southern Africa, the black-footed cat. If possible we will look to hire the services of a black-footed cat researcher (Beryl Wilson) and this will increase our chances as she has a couple of black-footed cats radio-collared. During the night excursions it is possible to see Cape fox although they are quite scarce here. If possible we will also try and gain access to a cave system at Griekwastad where we can see a number of bat species (access and permits have to be arranged by the McGregor Museum in Kimberley and is subject to availability).
This morning you will have a last chance for a short game drive in the early morning before breakfast. Then after breakfast you will be transferred back to Upington and your accommodation, level 3-4* hotel; for your last night. You will have your farewell evening meal at the accommodation or a nearby restaurant.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Please note that the itinerary stated above is correct as our planned intentions for the tour. However adverse weather conditions and other local considerations can necessitate some modifications of the itinerary during the course of the tour; any changes will be made to make the best of the time and weather conditions available to us.
This tour is available on different date (subject to availability) please contact us for more details about running this tour on a date which suits you more.