Back in the days, hubby and I fell in love with South Africa and bought a Land Rover. We are grateful, since we can rely on the ongoing help of beloved friends and we also have an amazing storage facility in Stellenbosch. Otherwise it would never have been a feasible set up. Ever since that day we drive all over South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
You cannot drive all the way from Cape Town to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the very north of the country in your own car. It is roughly 1.000 km through some very lonely parts of South Africa. You can’t do that without a travel group. It is too dangerous. You can’t go camping in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. You have to stay at a lodge. You will need a ranger, who explains everything to you … I step onto the pavement in front of the B&B in Tamboerskloof, Cape Town and smile once more about all these objections made by people I spoke to about our trip. It is very early in the morning; I jump into our Land Rover and hubby starts the car. I love road trips so much and camping in the bush even more so. We are fast on our way to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with a size of 38000 square kilometre one of the largest National Parks in the world (that describes both parts of the park: the part in Botswana and the part in South Africa).
It’s not as if we would not have prepared for this little trip. Over the years we’ve read many books, spoke to even more people and made many experiences. We learned a whole lot about travelling and the life in South Africa over the years. How to behave when we encounter a snake, that is something we know from our everyday life in Australia. We cannot remember how many outdoor magazines we have studied in detail. We are determined to survive every trip well. And to be honest, the good thing is the park is pretty easy to reach and even to navigate, and all facilities are kept in an excellent condition.
20 things the Land Rover carries to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- Jerry cans with water (there is fresh water in the NP)
- Fuel cans (there is also a garage and filling station in the NP)
- Tire pump
- Spare tires
- First Aid Kit
- Satellite Navigation
- Guide books on birds and mammals in South Africa
- Car jack (familiarize yourself how to use it)
- Food supplies
- Cooking equipment (there is a Restaurant at Twee Rivieren). You can also buy firewood at the camp
- Camping equipment from pillow, sleeping bag to table and chairs or stools
- Clothes like a pair of sturdy shoes, a few T-Shirts, a pair of shorts and long trousers, long sleeved Shirts and a jumper for cooler mornings
- Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hattoSlip–Slop–Slap like the Australians say
- Mosquito repellent
- Biodegradable toiletries
- Binoculars (don’t forget them under no circumstances … ever)
- Camera, lenses, cleaner, beanbag, spare batteries, memory cards
- Travel journal
- Sense of adventure, big chunk of curiosity and humour.
Wild animals and cooking over a campfire
We drive from Twee Rivieren to Nossob to Mata Mata and back to Twee Rivieren and use each camp as our base for several days. Within only a few days in the park either riding waves of red dunes or roads of creamy white sand, we see lots of lions, turtles, owls, weavers, cheetahs, gnus, antelopes, ostriches, jackals, meerkats, springboks, scorpions, kori bustards, impalas, ground squirrels, gemsboks, eland, dung beetles and to our large excitement an African wild cat. The impressions made are somehow difficult to process for a city slicker like me. When we get back from our late afternoon drives, we watch the most glorious sunsets, where the sky turns light blue, lilac and pinkish-orange. Later at night when we sit around the campfire above us is the unpolluted and wide sky full of thousands of stars. One traveller tells me that the first campfire was built 1.5 million years ago. Guess where it was … nowhere other than in South Africa. The only background music to be heard is the African bush. Everything seems unreal. I still cannot believe that I am here.
Tips. You cannot just arrive in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and expect to be let in. To avoid being sent away, please book your stay in advance. You have to check in at Twee Rivieren, regardless of whether you are staying at that camp or not. A trip through Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is not dangerous at all, but also not to be confused with a walk in your local park.
Text and Photography Dorothée Lefering (THE TOURISTIN)
Travel writer and blogger. Expat in London and Melbourne for eight years, now in Berlin. Admiringly discovering the world. On the road intensely. Delighted by great food and adventurous people.