Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
|Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park|
|Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
Gemsbok National Park
Twee Rivieren camp
|Location||Kgalagadi District, Botswana / Northern Cape, South Africa|
|Area||38,000 km2 (15,000 sq mi)|
|Established||31 July 1931 (Kalahari Gemsbok National Park)
12 May 2000 (Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park)
|Governing body||Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Botswana) / South African National Parks|
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a large wildlife preserve and conservation area in southern Africa. The park straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana and comprises two adjoining national parks:
The total area of the park is 38,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi). Approximately three-quarters of the park lies in Botswana and one-quarter in South Africa. Kgalagadi means place of thirst.
In September 2014, more than half of the Botswana portion of the park were sold for gas fracking.
Location and terrain
The park is located largely within the southern Kalahari Desert. The terrain consists of red sand dunes, sparse vegetation, occasional trees, and the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob Rivers. The rivers are said to flow only about once per century. However, water flows underground and provides life for grass and camelthorn trees growing in the river beds. The rivers may flow briefly after large thunderstorms.
The park has abundant, varied wildlife. It is home to large mammalian predators such as black-maned Kalahari lions, Namibian cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas. Migratory herds of large herbivores such as blue wildebeest, springbok, eland, and red hartebeest also live and move seasonally within the park, providing sustenance for the predators. More than 200 species of bird can be found in the park, including vultures and raptors such as eagles, buzzards, and secretary birds.
The weather in the Kalahari can reach extremes. January is midsummer in southern Africa and the daytime temperatures are often in excess of 40 °C (104 °F). Winter nights can be quite cold with temperatures below freezing. Extreme temperatures of −11 °C (12 °F) and up to 45 °C (113 °F) have been recorded. Precipitation is sparse in this desert area.
Within the park there are three traditional tourist lodges, called "rest camps". These are fully serviced lodges and include amenities such as air conditioning, shops and swimming pools. There are also six wilderness camps in the park. The wilderness camps provide little more than shelter and wash water; visitors must supply their own food, drinking water and firewood.
The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa was established on 31 July 1931 mainly to protect the migrating game, especially the gemsbok, from poaching. In 1948 an informal verbal agreement was made between the then Bechuanaland Protectorate and the Union of South Africa to set up a conservation area in the contiguous areas of the two lands. In June 1992 representatives from the South African National Parks Board Board (now SANParks) and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Botswana set up a joint management committee to manage the area as a single ecological unit. A management plan was drafted, reviewed, and approved in 1997. The parties agreed to cooperate in tourism and share equally in park entrance fees. On 7 April 1999, Botswana and South Africa signed a historic bilateral agreement whereby both countries undertook to manage their adjacent national parks, the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana and the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa as a single ecological unit. The boundary between the two parks had no physical barriers, although it is also the international border between the two countries. This allowed for the free movement of animals. On 12 May 2000, President Festus Mogae of Botswana and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa formally launched Southern Africa's first peace park, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
In October 2002, the governments set aside 580 km² (224 mi²) for the use of the native peoples, the Khomani San and Mier communities. This was divided between 277.69 km² of San Heritage Land and 301.34 km² of Mier Heritage Land. The South African National Parks (SANParks) manages the land under contract. The native communities retain commercial benefits and rights, as well as the use of the land for symbolic and culture purposes.
In September 2014, the government of Botswana quietly sold the rights to frack for shale gas in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. It granted prospecting licences for 29,291, 34,435 and 23,980 km² – more than half of the Botswana part of the park – to a UK-listed company called “Nodding Donkey”. The sale was not reported at the time. In November 2015, the company changed its name to “Karoo Energy”.
A South African cheetah with carcass
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.|
- South African National Parks website
- Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism website
- Photography and Safari guide to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- !Xaus Lodge - owned and run by the Khomani San and Mier communities
- Jeff Barbee: Botswana sells fracking rights in national park Guardian, 2 December 2015.