In assocciation with Kalahari Wildlife Tours

Tour 22: 9 Day Four Deserts Tour

This tour covers 2 Trans Frontier Parks, 2 National Parks and 6 Reserves/conservation areas in 4 desert and semi-desert biomes:

Arid Savannah Biome: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Nama Karoo Biome: Fish River Canyon, Klein Pella & Augrabies Falls National Park
Desert Biome: Namib Desert & Luderitz
Succulent Karoo Biome: Richtersveld National Park & Namaqualand


4 Days
3 Nights

DAY 01 Upington – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park / Twee Rivieren
DAY 02 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park / Mata Mata
DAY 03 Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (Namibia)
DAY 04 Luderitz
DAY 05 Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (South Africa)
DAY 06 Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
DAY 07 Klein-Pella
DAY 08 ugrabies Falls National Park
DAY 09 Upington – Departure


The name of this tour says it all. The route include the wildlife and landscapes of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Fish River Canyon in the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, the barren Namib Desert and Augrabies Falls National Park. The Richtersveld is the only mountain desert in South Africa and is home to rare endemic succulent species. The Richtersveld in South Africa can only be explored in a 4×4 vehicle.

DAY 01 Upington – Kgalagadi
Depart from Upington to the largest camp in Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park, Twee Rivieren. Afternoon game drive in this 37 000 square km park, 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.
Optional 3 hr sunset drive and 3 hr morning guided walk (if available) @ R145-00 & R250-00 pp.
Overnight: Twee Rivieren
Meals: B & D

DAY 02 Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park
Game drive to Mata Mata.
Optional 3 hr sunset drive and 3 hr morning guided walk (if available) @ R145-00 & R250-00 pp.
Overnight: Mata Mata
Meals: B & D

DAY 03 Kgalagadi – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
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 or Canon Lodge
Meals: B & D

DAY 04 Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park – Luderitz
Depart to Luderitz via Gondwana Nature Park. Proceed through the Namib Desert on the B4, which is the southern border of the Namib Naukluft Park, which covers an area of more than 49 000 square km to Walvis Bay in the north. The Namib is the oldest desert on earth and one of the most hostile areas on our planet.

Short excursion to Diaz Point, where there is a replica of the cross erected in July 1488 by Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias on his return from the Cape of Good Hope, after navigating the first ship round the southernmost point of Africa. From the viewpoint one has a good view of Halifax Island, home to many Cape fur seals. Many flamingos can be seen in the area.
Overnight: Kratzplatz Guest House
Meals: B & D

DAY 05 Luderitz – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Visit the Diamond Ghost Town Kolmanskop. Drive back inland on the B4. With some luck, one can see the feral horses of the Namib at Garub near Aus.

Continue via Rosh Pinah to Sendelingsdrift Border Post through the vast barren plains of southern Namibia. Enter South Africa by crossing the Orange River by ferry. 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 & D

DAY 06 Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Explore the Park on drives and on foot.
Overnight: One of the camps in the Park
Meals: B & D

DAY 07 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 boats. 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 & D

DAY 08 Klein Pella – Augrabies Falls National Park – Upington
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, travelling through the plains of the Northern Bushmanland and the small, but known town, Pofadder. 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. Scenic – and 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.

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.

Continue to Upington. Arrive in Upington during the afternoon. End of tour. Accommodation can vary from the itinerary depending on availability.

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