I had the privilege of visiting one of the premier parks in South Africa/Botswana. Yes, that is correct. The Kgalagadi transfrontier park (KTP) stretches over both countries. I say privilege because that is exactly what it is. Due to its location not everyone that visit Southern African makes the journey, but trust me you are missing out.
However, the park is extremely popular with locals and therefore usually booked out months in advance. Even now during Covid I struggled to book my preferred camps and had to settle for what I could get. The 4 nights camping was worth it.
Bookings are done directly and quite easily online at SANParks.org. (click here). The South Africans really have one of the best systems in Southern Africa. Create your profile and your ready to go. Book and pay accommodation as well as pay park fees online and you are ready to go. No need for any payments upon arrival. Remember to get the wild card if you qualify. For a once of fee you gain free access to all parks in SA.
Entry to the park from the SA side is at Two Rivers gate. This is the only access point for SA, so you must pass through here is you are arriving to or departing from SA. I say this, because under normal circumstances you can enter from Botswana (Kaa & Mabu gate) and Namibia (Mata Mata gate) and leave in whichever direction you prefer. However, this option is not available during Covid.
The Two Rivers camp is about 2mins away from the gate. It offers chalets as well as camping. Due to availability or a lack thereof I ended up camping. The camp sites are basic, but adequate. Extremely clean and neat. Kudos to the camp overall for maintaining such high standards of cleanliness.
Your campsite has a light, fire pit to braai, tap and electrical point. You’ll need the caravan plug adapter though if you want to use electricity. It is available at the shop. The ablutions are shared, with hot water. There is a laundry with coin operated machines and a scullery.
The camp itself has a shop with wifi (R75 for 400mb), petrol station (R17,96/liter) with compressed air, restaurant and a big swimming pool. They except credit cards. It is also the only camp with cellphone signal.
From Two Rivers there are two roads that lead into the park. The first is the Nossob river road that goes north towards Nossob camp and the second is the Auob river road that leads north-west towards Mata Mata camp. Both follow the respective rivers and game viewing is very good along them. All the waterholes are situated in the rivers as well and you are able to get really close.
I headed for Mata Mata camp, again due to availability. I spent three nights camping here and the exercise was extremely rewarding. The camp has similar facilities to that of Two Rivers, minus the restaurant plus a game hide for viewing wildlife at the waterhole. In addition, the shop daily bakes fresh bread on request. R30 for a fresh loaf.
Initially, the game viewing was slow. You will see a lot of Gemsbok (Oryx), Springbok, Blue Wildebeest and Red Hartebeest, as well as Ostriches and a large array of bird species. Towards, the end of my visit I experienced some amazing Lion and Cheetah sightings. Unfortunately, the leopard that I came here to see eluded me with only a brief sighting of a female for a few seconds.
The park is one of the best in Southern Africa by a mile. I had heard about it for so long and then decided to bite the bullet and drive the 1000km from Cape Town. It was well worth it and if in future I have the opportunity to revisit I would most likely. Especially, to see the parts that I missed out due to Covid limits and overall availability.