In assocciation with Kalahari Wildlife Tours

Tour 33: 16 Day Kalahari – Diamond Coast Ultra 4×4 Tour

This tour covers 2 Trans Frontier Parks, 2 National Parks and 7 Reserves/conservation areas.

Terrain: Tar & dirt roads, sand trails
Total Distance: 3085km 
Trailers accepted!

Maximum vehicles on tour: 8
Average travel time per day: 6 hrs


15 Days
14 Nights

DAY 01 Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park (Botswana)
DAY 02 Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park
DAY 03 Mier Area, Kalahari (South Africa)
DAY 04 Mier Area, Kalahari
DAY 05 Riemvasmaak Conservancy
DAY 06 Augrabies Falls National Park
DAY 07 Klein Pella
DAY 08 Vioolsdrift
DAY 09 Vioolsdrift (River Rafting)
DAY 10 Ais-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
DAY 11 Ais-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
DAY 12 Diamond Coast
DAY 13 Diamond Coast
DAY 14 Diamond Coast
DAY 15 Diamond Coast
DAY 16 Departure


Arid Savanah of the Kalahari Desert, vast plains of the Nama Karoo, mountain desert of Riemvasmaak/Augrabies and the Richtersveld and semi-desert coastline. This is a unique combination of desert areas in one tour. Adapted wildlife, gracious raptors and the big cats of the Kgalagadi, fascinating desert plants and sandy & mountain trails and rafting on the Orange River await the visitor. Diamond mining history, shipwrecks and sandy trails are part of the Diamond Coast section. This route covers the Kalahari 4×4 Trail, the longest trail in South Africa, Namakwa 01 & 02 stretching over 400 km and more than 400 km of the South African coastline from the Orange River to the Olifants River.

DAY 01 Upington – San Tent Campsite
Meet at 12:00 in Upington. Depart at 13:00 to the small village Askham. Refuel. Continue on a short 4×4 trail to the nearby Tent Campsite managed by the last indigenous San tribe in South Africa, the Khomani. The Tent Campsite near the Kuruman River Valley in the Andriesvale area, has a beautiful setting in a valley studded with camelthorn trees between the Kalahari dunes.

The San are the earliest residents of the Kalahari, living here for 40 000 years They consist of only 400 people and are resident in an area around Andriesvale between 40 and 70 km south of Twee Rivieren. Clients who are interested have the opportunity to view and purchase their handcraft at one of the roadside stalls in the area or at the handcraft centre at the entrance gate to the Molopo Kalahari Lodge 5km away.

Clients travelling from the northern parts of South Africa via the R31 Vanzylsrus road or who are in the vicinity of Askham, Molopo Lodge or Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, can meet the guide at 16:00 at Witdraai Police Station off the R360 between Askham and the Molopo Lodge
Overnight: San Tent Campsite Camping (Chalet at Molopo Lodge optional at own cost)
Meals: B & D
Distance: 205 km
Travel time: 3 hrs

DAY 02 San Tent Camp – De Stoele 4×4 Trail – Cammspannen Nature Reserve
Depart on the R360 direction Twee Rivieren. Turn-off opposite Struizendam Village, situated on the banks of the dry Nossob River in Botswana, on the De Stoele 4×4 Trail. Continue through the Mier area in Kalahari and past beautiful red sand dunes at De Stoele farm and later on dirt road to Cammspannen Private Nature Reserve. Continue to the Tented Camp near the entrance gate.

Cammspannen Nature Reserve is uninhabited and is situated in the Mier area in the most remote part of South Africa and it covers 12 800 ha of typical Kalahari duneveld in the Arid Savannah biome of South Africa. It’s northern border is one km south of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park’s southern border and in the west it borders on Namibia

Antelope species include gemsbok, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, springbok, grey duiker and steenbok. Smaller carnivores include caracal, aardwolf, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, Cape fox, African wild cat, meerkat, yellow – & slender mongoose. Other species include aardvark, pangolin, porcupine & ground squirrels

Ostrich, Kori bustard, northern black korhaan and secretary bird are common sightings. Bird of prey species include marshall eagle, black-chested snake eagle, pale chanting goshawk, pygmy falcon, black-shouldered kite and greater kestrel. Owl species include spotted eagle owl, barn owl and white-faced scops-owl. Burchell – & Namaqua sandgrouse, chats, weavers, quails and various lark species are common.

We take on the first leg of the Cammspannen Kalahari 4×4 Trail. Experience the real Kalahari on this circular trail by crossing some challenging dunes and watching Kalahari wildlife in their natural habitat.
Overnight: Cammspannen Tented Camp (igloo tents or own camping equipment if preferred)
Meals: B & D
Distance: 130 km + 40 km 4×4 trail
Travel time: 3 hrs + 3 hrs 4×4 trail

DAY 03 Cammspannen Kalahari 4×4 Trail – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Depart on the second leg of the Cammspannen Kalahari 4×4 Trail. Part of this circular trail includes crossing some challenging dunes against the Namibian border fence.

Depart to the largest camp in Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park, Twee Rivieren. Check in at Two Rivers on the Botswana side.

Game drive to Rooiputs Campsite on the Botswana side 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.

Experience two nights in the Park, camping in the wild with no protective fencing. Enjoy dinner around the fire, while listening to the sounds of the night. Don’t be surprised if you hear lion, hyena, leopard and black backed jackal during the night. Lions are regular visitors to Rooiputs at night.
(The facilities at Rooiputs are very basic. Each campsite has an A-frame shade structure, pit toilet and a shelter for shower bag.)
Overnight: Chalets at Twee Rivieren or Rooiputs Botswana Camping
Meals: B & D
Distance: 170 km
Travel time: 6 hrs (incl. 3 hrs game drive)

DAY 04 Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park
Full day game drives. The route will be determined by previous sightings and game movement.
Overnight: Chalet at Twee Rivieren or Rooiputs Botswana camping
Meals: B & D
Distance: 200 km
Travel time: 8 hrs game drive

DAY 05 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – Riemvasmaak
Game drive to Twee Rivieren Gate. Clear customs. Depart on dirt roads via the small village Noenieput
to Riemvasmaak. En route we stop at the last indigenous San tribe in South Africa, the Khomani.
Today these earliest residents of the Kalahari, living here for 40 000 years, consist of only 400 people
and are resident in an area between 40 and 70 km south of Twee Rivieren. Clients will have the
opportunity to view and purchase their handcraft at one of the roadside stalls.

This spectacular mountain desert wilderness, with its towering granite canyons, covers 75 000 ha and is owned and run by the community of Riemvasmakers. It was one of the first land restitution projects in South Africa. The rugged rocky scenery seems as if it is from another planet. It is a wilderness born from volcanic activity millions of years ago, but with a beauty that takes on spiritual proportions. We camp near the hot spring where one can relax in the baths with the water temperature a constant 32 Celcius, dwarfed by 80 m high cliff walls.
Overnight: Riemvasmaak
Meals: B & D
Distance: 420 km
Travel time: 6 hours

DAY 06 Riemvasmaak – Augrabies – Klein Pella
Depart on the Molopo 4×4 trail running through some very rocky and sandy terrain before crossing the bridge over the Orange River at Blouputs. Continue to Augrabies Falls National Park. 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 on dirt roads through the Northern Bushmanland via Pofadder to Klein Pella. Klein Pella is an oasis in the desert. It’s a grape and date export farm with the largest date plantations in the southern hemisphere.
Overnight: Klein Pella Guest Farm
Meals: B & D
Distance: 280 km
Travel time: 7 hrs

DAY 07 Namakwa –1 4×4 trail
Early morning visit to the date plantations. Depart on the 4×4 Namakwa-1 trail, following the Orange River to the west, passing the small communities of Witbank, Goodhouse and Henkries. Continue westwards on the 4×4 trail to the N7 20 km south of Vioolsdrift Border Post. Proceed to Fiddlers Creek via Vioolsdrift. Fiddlers Creek is situated on the banks of the Orange River and has a very relaxed atmosphere.
Overnight: Fiddler’s Creek
Meals: B & D
Distance: 200 km
Travel time: 8 hrs

DAY 08 Orange River – Rafting
Half day rafting on the Orange River. Clients need no rafting experience. It is an easy stretch of water with grade 1 and 2 rapids and suitable for all. Afternoon at leisure
Overnight: Fiddler’s Creek
Meals: B & D

DAY 09 Fiddlers Creek – Richtersveld National Park
Depart on the Namakwa-2 4×4 trail. We pass the barren Helskloof and Nababiep Nature Reserve in the Nababiep mountains and the remote villages Eksteenfontein and Khubus. Continue Through the Richtersveld Conservancy to Richtersveld National Park.

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.

We enter the park at Sendelingsdrift. 4×4 Trail to Potjiespram on the banks of the Orange River.
Overnight: One of the camps
Meals: B & D
Distance: 170 km
Travel time: 7 hrs

DAY 10 Richtersveld National Park
Explore the Park on 4×4 trails and on foot.
Overnight: One of the camps
Meals: B & D
Distance: 100 km
Travel time: 7 hrs

DAY 11 Richtersveld – Diamond Coast
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 with a botanist as our guide.

Continue along the coastline via the small harbour town Port Nolloth. Visit the harbour with its diamond dredgers. Continue on the dirt road to Kleinzee on the West Coast. We enter the secretive, previously restricted diamond area owned by The Beers. Time at leisure for a coastline walk. Whales are very often seen close to the shoreline.
Overnight: Diamond Divers’ camp at Noup or Koingnaas Caravan Park camping
Meals: B & D
Distance: 340 km
Travel time: 3 hrs

DAY 12 Diamond Coast
Explore the Diamond Coast on the 37km Shipwreck 4×4 Route. Throughout the years the stormy Atlantic has prevented many ships to reach their destination. They found their final resting place at the coastline between Koingnaas and Kleinzee. The trail goes past three of these wrecks, the Piratiny, Arosa and Border, untouched beaches and other interesting sights.

Minimum of 8 persons are required for departure on these 4×4 trails. If less, clients have to pay the balance of R150 per person per trail.
Overnight: Diamond Divers’ camp at Noup or Koingnaas Caravan Park camping
Meals: B & D
Distance: 60 km
Travel time: 6 hrs

DAY 13 Diamond Coast – Hondeklip Bay
Explore the Strandveld 4×4 Route. This route goes through 1000ha of white sand dunes in a game reserve and crosses some challenging dunes.
Minimum of 8 persons are required for departure on these 4×4 trails. If less, clients have to pay the balance of R150 per person per trail.

Continue to Hondeklip Bay, which relies for its survival on a small crayfish industry and a few diamond boats operating from its harbour. This small remote seaside village has an unpretentious rural charm. Overnight: Hondeklip Bay
Meals: B & D
Distance: 60 km
Travel time: 6 hrs

DAY 14 Diamond Coast – Namaqua 4×4 Trail – Groenrivier
Visit the wreck of the Jahleel in the bay and the Aristea. Continue south on the Coastal 4×4 Trail to
Groenriviermond. The trail runs through impressive West Coast landscapes with excellent photographic
and bird watching opportunities, the including rare black oystercatcher. Stop at the Spoegrivier Caves
and at the estuary where the Spoegrivier mouths in the cold Atlantic Ocean. Afternoon at leisure in
Overnight: Groenrivier
Meals: B & D
Distance: 90 km
Travel time: 5 hrs

DAY 15 Groenriviermond – Upington
Depart on dirt road to Garies on the N7. (Self drive clients continue to their destinations). Continue to Upington via Springbok. End of the tour.
Distance: 590 km
Travel time: 6 hrs

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