2 Pictures Photos Of Animals Found In The Transfrontier Park How to Have a True Wilderness Experience on an African Safari – Without ‘Roughing It’!

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How to Have a True Wilderness Experience on an African Safari – Without ‘Roughing It’!

If you are looking for a true wilderness experience without having to ‘spread out’ then you must visit the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park wilderness camps! All of these wilderness camps are not fenced, which makes the park so attractive to people who want to get really close to nature.

A few facts about the camps before we discuss our experiences at each one:

• There is a tour assistant / camp manager on duty at all times and, to maintain the tranquility and exclusivity of the desert camps, a maximum of eight people are allowed in each camp – two people in each of the four cabins.

• All accommodation units in the desert camps have en-suite bathrooms, gas fridges and geysers, while solar panels provide electricity for the lights. All units have cookware, cutlery, ceiling fans, beds and towels, and are serviced daily.

1. Kieliekrankie

This is the highest camp, located on one of the highest dunes overlooking a private waterhole. The four dune cabins are spacious with number four being the most private as it is at the bottom.

The views during the day are amazing as you can see for miles. We have had regular sightings of brown hyenas, gemsbok, black-backed jackals, cape cobras, secretary birds and hawks. During the night we saw leopards, caracals, African wild cats, steenbok, porcupins, scorpions and owls. When there is a storm, the view is spectacular with the sky changing color and lightnings lighting up the sky!

The water hole is about 120 meters away, so you will need at least a 400mm lens to photograph the animals drinking. However, the resident leopard walks between the cabins to and from the watering hole!

2. Urikaruus

This camp is built on stilts in the dry bed of the Auob River and the four riverside cabins are connected by raised walkways. Bedrooms and bathrooms are upstairs while kitchens, dining rooms and decks are downstairs.

The views are not as impressive as at Kieliekrankie and Gharagab, but we have seen large herds of Springbok, Wildebeest and Tessebe walking past the cabins. We saw lions, brown hyenas and cheetahs in the private den during the day and even at night. For wildlife photography this camp is great – especially if you don’t have a long lens as the water hole is only 50 meters from the cabins. One year we had a lioness walking around camp while our neighbors were unpacking their vehicle!

3. Bitter

The camp is located in the dunes and is built on stilts with wooden paths connecting the cane cabins. Bitterpan is ideal for small groups of friends as it has a communal braai (BBQ) area and campfire.

Behind the cabins is a six-meter-high observation tower that offers wonderful views over the pan, waterhole and dunes. The road leading to the camp is a one way road and you must have a 4X4 to drive this road.

4. Grootkolk

Grootkolk, like Bitterpan, has a communal cooking area, so it’s best suited for small groups of friends. However, each wilderness cabin has its own braai if you want your privacy. We found the units to be a little tight.

The watering hole is about 70 feet from the cabins and not easy to see if the grass is tall. We have seen lion and leopard in the area.

5. Gharagab

The camp is located in the far north of the park and the four log cabins are built on top of a dune offering great views of the surrounding dunes and forest. In addition, there is a viewing deck behind the cabins that offers a 360 degree view of the area.

The private water hole is about 70 meters from the cabins and we have seen lions drinking here most mornings and evenings. The opportunities to photograph sunrises, sunsets and thunderstorms are excellent here. The road leading to the camp is 1-way and you need a 4X4 vehicle.

6. Tent camp in the Kalahari

This camp is the largest of the desert camps as it has 15 desert tents with bathrooms made of sandbags and canvas.

The spacious tents are located on a high sand dune overlooking a private waterhole on the dry bed of the Auob River. This is the only desert camp that has a pool and where children under 12 are allowed.

This camp and Urikaruus are the only two camps where we see giraffes. In addition, we have seen lions and large herds of wildebeest and springbok. The water hole is about 120 meters away and the middle tents (numbers 6 to 10) are closest to the water hole.

Tents are erected on wooden platforms, and yearling hyenas chased and killed a young animal under our neighbor’s tent. You can imagine the uproar – they were terrified and used a knife to cut the back tent so they could climb up and ‘escape’! The camp manager assured them they were safe, but the next day they left. Needless to say, they returned a few months later – the Kalahari desert experience is truly addictive!

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