In assocciation with Kalahari Wildlife Tours

Tour 9: 8 Day Kgalagadi – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park Tour

This tour cover 2 Trans Frontier Parks, 1 National Park & 3 Reserves/conservation areas


8 Days
7 nights

DAY 01 Upington – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park / Twee Rivieren DAY 02 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park / One of the camps DAY 03 Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (Namibia) DAY 04 Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park DAY 05 Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park DAY 06 Klein Pella DAY 07 Augrabies Falls National Park DAY 08 Upington – Departure


This tour includes a wide variety of wildlife species in impressive landscapes in 02 Transfrontier Parks, 01 National Park and 03 Reserves in the Arid Regions of South Africa and Namibia. From the predators and adapted species of Kgalagadi to the impressive Fish River Canyon, mountain desert and rare endemic plant species of the Richtersveld and wildlife and rocky desert landscapes of Augrabies Falls National Park. The Richtersveld in South Africa can only be explored in a 4×4 vehicle.

DAY 01 Upington – Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park
Time of departure will depend on clients’ travel schedule to Upington. Flight schedule to be finalised. (Flight not included)

Depart from Upington on a 03-hour drive through the Kalahari duneveld (“veld” means natural vegetation), passing various pans (dry lakes), to the Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park,

The word Kalahari derives from the word Makgadigadi, meaning salt pans (salt lakes) in the language spoken by the Kgalagadi people living in the Kgalagadi Region in south-western Botswana. The word Kgalagadi means salt pans too in their language. More than 1 000 pans are scattered throughout the park. The Kalahari is the largest area of sand in the world, covering 2.5 million square kilometres from the Orange River in South Africa in the south to slightly north of the equator. The area referred to as the arid Kalahari covers some 900 000 square kilometres in the south and covers parts of South Africa and Namibia and most of Botswana. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is situated in the southern part of the arid Kalahari in South Africa and Botswana and is jointly managed by South Africa National Parks (Sanparks) and Botswana Wildlife.

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park covers 37 000 square km, which is one of the largest conservation areas in the world and one of the last truly unspoilt ecosystems.

Endemic game such as gemsbok, springbok, eland, giraffe, blue wildebeest and red hartebeest roam the sparsely vegetated red sand dunes and the dry river valleys of the Nossob and Auob where a variety of acacia species thrive.

The Park is well known for good sightings of lion, leopard and cheetah and spotted – and brown hyena are common residents. Because of an abundance of prey in the form of mice, whistling rats, birds and insects, smaller predators thrive in the park. The park is home to caracal, honey badger, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, cape fox, African wildcat, mongoose and the ever-popular suricate (meerkat).

Kgalagadi is a bird watcher’s paradise with more than 300 species recorded including at least 20 larger raptor species. The world’s heaviest flying bird, the Kori bustard and the stately secretary bird patrol the riverbeds while the noisy northern black korhaan rule in the dunes.

Check in at accommodation at Twee Rivieren. Depart on an afternoon game drive. The Twee Rivieren area is known for lion, leopard, cheetah and meerkat sightings.
Optional 3 hr sunset drive and 3 hr morning guided walk with Sanparks guide at own cost
Overnight: Twee Rivieren
Meals: B, L & D (Full Board on all days)

DAY 02 Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park
Depart on game drive along the Auob River Valley to Mata Mata on the Namibian Border. Mata Mata is situated on the banks of the Auob River Valley. This is cheetah territory and is one the best, if not the best, places in Southern Africa to see cheetah. The Mata Mata area is also known for lion, brown and spotted hyena sightings.

The accommodation is overlooking an illuminated waterhole in the Auob River. Predators are regular visitors at night.

Optional 3 hr sunset drive or 02 hr night drive with Sanparks guide at own cost
Overnight: Riverfront Chalet at Mata Mata
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 03 Kgalagadi – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (Namibia)
Enter Namibia. Proceed through the vast plains of Southern Namibia to the Ai-Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. Visit en route Giant’s Playground, Quiver Tree Forest and Namibia’s 2nd largest dam, the Naute Dam near Keetmanshoop. Continue to Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. This park spans some of the most spectacular scenery of the arid and desert environments in Southern Africa. Bisected by the Orange River, which forms the border between South Africa and Namibia, it comprises the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Game Park in Namibia and the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa.

Some of the distinctive features in the area include the Ai-Ais Hot springs and the 2nd largest canyon in the world, the Fish River Canyon. This awe-inspiring canyon measures 160 km in length, up to 27 km in width and reaches a depth of 550 m. This arid zone is further characterised by a unique and impressive variety of succulent plant species, which makes this park an undisputed biodiversity “hot spot”.

Enter the Transfrontier Park at Hobas. Visit the Fish River Canyon, with different viewpoints overlooking the canyon. Although the Park is not known as a game park, springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest, Hartman’s zebra, kudu, klipspringer and ostrich survive in this harsh land. Continue via the 102 000 ha private conservation area, Gondwana Canyon Park to Ai-Ais. Ai-Ais, which means, “burning water” in one of the local languages, refers to the sulphurous hot springs which are found in this area. One of these springs has its eye within the camp. Ai-Ais lies at the southern end of the Fish River Canyon. Relax in the warm pools and spa.
Overnight: Ai-Ais Resort
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 04 Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (South Africa)
Depart to Sendelingsdrift Border Post through the vast barren plains of southern Namibia. The road runs parallel with the Orange River through Southern Namibia. Enter South Africa by crossing the Orange River by pontoon. The Richtersveld Mountain Desert is regarded as the only true desert and one of the last wilderness areas in South Africa and was recently declared a world heritage site. The rainfall in some areas is less than 50 mm per annum. The Park nestles in a 100 km loop of the Lower Orange River, which forms the border with Namibia.

The Richtersveld is regarded as one of the world’s most prolific and richest succulent areas, nurturing 30% of South Africa’s succulent species, including 3 Quiver tree species and the very rare legendary “halfmens”. Although game is not the main attraction of Richtersveld Park, there is species such as the very rare Hartman’s Zebra, Grey Reebok, Klipspringer, Duiker, Steenbok, Leopard, Caracal, Black backed jackal, Baboons and Vervet monkeys. The park harbours a small number of indigenous people, who live their lives as goatherds, unchanged from the time when their hardy ancestors lived.
Overnight: One of the camps in the Park
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 05 Ais-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Explore the Park on a circular 4×4 Trail via Hand of God, Akkedis Pass and Helskloof and on short walks. Return to accommodation.
Overnight: One of the camps in the Park
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 06 Ais-Ais/Richtersveld – Klein Pella
Depart to Alexander Bay on the cold Atlantic Ocean. Visit the estuary at the Orange River mouth near Alexander Bay. This previous restricted diamond area is now open to public. The Orange River Wetland is declared as a RAMSAR site and is home to more than 60 bird species including pelicans and many flamingos. After a drive to the mouth we continue to the Lichen Hill. The Richtersveld vegetation has unique species with awesome adoptions to survive in its semi desert climate. One km outside Alexander Bay, a hill of 5 hectares is covered with lichen – the only one of its kind in South Africa. Lichen is neither plant nor animal, consisting of algae and fungi living together in symbioses. We visit this hill.

Continue south along the coastline to the small harbour town Port Nolloth. This is crayfish and diamond country. Visit the harbour with its diamond dredgers.

Continue via Springbok to Klein Pella. Klein Pella is an oasis in the desert, being a grape export farm and having the largest date plantations in the southern hemisphere.
Overnight: Klein Pella Guest Farm
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 07 Klein Pella – Augrabies Falls National Park
Depart to Pella Mission Station, dating back to 1814. Two missionaries have built the Old Cathedral, surrounded by date palms, over a period of seven years, using an encyclopaedia as their building manual.

Continue to Augrabies Falls National Park, which covers 60 000 ha. Visit the Augrabies Falls, which is the sixth largest waterfall in the world when South Africa’s largest river, the Orange is in flood. The word Augrabies derives from the Khoi meaning “Place of great noise”. Although Augrabies is essentially a scenic park, game such as giraffe, springbok, gemsbok, eland, kudu red hartebeest, Hartman’s zebra and klipspringer survive in this unique riverine ecosystem. Fish eagles and black eagles are common residents and the Rest Camp is home to a variety of bird species.

Do a scenic game drive in this moon landscape-like land to awesome viewpoints such as Ararat, Oranjekom on the Orange River Gorge and the “Swartrante” (Black Hills) from where one has a great view of this arid rocky desert landscape.

The fall is illuminated until 10:00 p.m. Clients can re-visit the fall at their own time and pace.

Optional 2 hr sunset drive with Sanparks guide
Overnight: Augrabies
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 08 Augrabies – Upington
Duration of game drive/activities will depend on clients’ travel schedule from Upington.

Do a relaxed 2km morning walk to a beautiful viewpoint on the Augrabies gorge, Arrow Point followed by a scenic game drive in the Park.

Depart to Kakamas. Stop at Die Pienk Padstal (The Pink Road Stall) which stocks a variety of dried fruit products and local delicacies.

Proceed past the Persian Water Wheels to Keimoes on the Rockery Route, a scenic gravel road south of the Orange River, passing through a large quiver tree forest.

En route visit to Tierberg Nature Reserve in Keimoes, from where one has a beautiful view of the lush green Orange River Valley.

Continue via the largest inhabited inland island in South Africa, Kanoneiland, where virtually every inch of soil is under irrigation.

Continue to Upington to be in time for departing flight. Flight schedule to be finalised. (Flight not included)
Meals: L

It is expected from clients on camping tours to assist with pitching and packing up camp and with general camping duties on request. Accommodation can vary from the itinerary depending on availability.

Rates on request:
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