In assocciation with Kalahari Wildlife Tours

Tour 53: 12 Day Botswana Wildlife 4×4 Camping Safari (Southern & Central Parks)


12 Days
11 Nights

DAY 01 Upington (South Africa) – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Botswana)
DAY 02 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
DAY 03 Kaa Kalahari Concession
DAY 04 Ghanzi
DAY 05 Central Kalahari Game Reserve
DAY 06 Central Kalahari Game Reserve
DAY 07 Makgadigadi Pans National Park
DAY 08 Makgadigadi Pans National Park
DAY 09 Nxai Pan National Park
DAY 10 Francistown
DAY 11 Marakele National Park (South Africa)
DAY 12 Johannesburg – Depart


This tour covers the parks in the Southern & Central Kalahari and include very special wilderness areas where the wildlife are roaming free. This tour is not for persons who are looking for protected, enclosed campsites with good facilities. Although some campsites have good facilities, most campsites have basic or no facilities, where temporary facilities are provided by guide/crew. Most campsites are not fenced and animals may move through these camping areas. The necessary precaution is taken to ensure clients are safe when camping in these areas, as well as not to disturb animals. We are only guests in their territories and have to behave accordingly.
Optional upgrading to chalet/lodge accommodation is available on some nights at additional cost.

DAY 01 Upington – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Botswana)
Time of departure will depend on clients’ travel schedule to Upington. Flight/bus schedule to be finalised. (Flight/bus 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 Two Rivers on the Botswana side of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Game drive to Rooiputs Camp Ground on the Botswana side. Pitch camp. Depart on an afternoon game drive. The Rooiputs area is known for lion, cheetah, spotted & brown hyena and meerkat sightings.

Experience 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.
Overnight: Camping at Rooiputs (Basic Facilities; A-frame, pit toilet & open air shower)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 02 Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park (Botswana)
Game drive along the Nossob River Valley via Nossob Camp to Polentswa Camp Ground on the Botswana side of the Park, 60 km north of Nossob Camp.

Afternoon game drive in the area. Visit Polentswa Waterhole, known for regular visits by predators and raptors. At noon Polentswa waterhole is one of the best places in the park to see raptors.

As with Rooiputs, Polentswa has no protective fencing too. This remote campsite overlooks the vegetated Polentswa Pan and is known for beautiful sunsets. Lions, hyenas and brown hyenas are regular visitors to Polentswa at night.
Overnight Camping at Polentswa (No Water. Basic Facilities; A-frame, pit toilet & open air shower)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 03 Kgalagadi – Kaa Kalahari Concession
Game drive along the Nossob River Valley and 4×4 Excess Trail to Kaa Gate on the northern border of the Botswana part of the Park.

Enter the Kaa Kalahari Concession Area. The Kaa Kalahari Concession lies in the southwest of Botswana and borders on the north of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and is one of the last great unfenced wilderness areas in Southern Africa covering 1,3 million ha. Roughly 800 people live in a few small villages. There are two major ethnic groups; the Bakgalagadi and Basarwa or San. The latter lives here for 3 000 years.

Vast herds of game can still be seen in typical Kalahari veld with rolling grass plains and Acacia woodland. The area is dotted with pans (dry lakes) which fill up with water after good rains in summer and attract large herds of eland, gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest, some predators and many birds. Over 50 species of raptors have been recorded here. Kaa Concession is of ecological importance as it is the migratory corridor between the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Central Kalahari Reserve.
Continue to the very remote Name Pan
Overnight: Name Pan camping (No facilities. No Water. Guide/crew pitch shower and toilet)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 04 Kaa Concession – Ghanzi
Continue on 4×4 trails through the Kaa Concession and via the remote villages Zutshwa and Hukuntsi to Kang the Trans Kalahari Highway. Proceed to Ghanzi, where the feeling of a frontier town still lingers. Replenish supplies.
Overnight: Camping at Ghanzi (Chalets available at additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 05 Ghanzi – Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Early departure to Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which covers 51 800 square km.

The Central Kalahari is a place where you find your soul, where the modern world recedes and you get in touch with the earth, the sky and the space. Animals to be seen are Gemsbok, Wildebeest, Springbok, Tsessebe and Steenbok.

Elephants have lately been crossing from the north into Central Kalahari during the rainy season due to high densities of elephant in the north.

The most common predators are Lion, Brown Hyena, Cheetah, Leopard and African Wild Cat. Many bird species can be seen, including bird of prey.

Enter at Tau Gate in the north-west. Continue on a long drive on the excess trail to Deception Valley.

Afternoon game drive along Deception Valley if time allows
Overnight: Camping at Kori Campsite. (No protective fencing, pit toilet & open air shower)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 06 Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Depart south on game drive along Deception Valley and Deception Pan to Letiahau Waterhole. This is the only waterhole in a huge area and predator sightings are common. Return game drive to camp

Time at leisure. Afternoon game drive
Overnight: Camping at Kori Campsite. (No protective fencing, pit toilet & open air shower)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 07 Central Kalahari – Makgadigadi Pans National Park
Early morning game drive.

Backtrack via Matswere Gate to Rakops. Continue to Khumaga Camp Ground on the banks of the Boteti River in Makgadigadi Pans National Park. The Boteti River is flowing the last few years after good summer rains in the catchment areas of the Okavango River which feeds the Okavango Delta which feeds the Boteti River.

The park is home to elephants, white rhinos and hippos. Giraffe, impala and kudu are common along the river bank. Huge numbers of zebra migrate from the Makgadigadi Pans to the Boteti River during the dry season This is the second largest game migration on the African Continent. The dry Boteti River is known for lion and spotted hyena activities during the night.
Overnight: Camping at Khumaga Campground (Good facilities) (Chalets available at nearby Tiaan’s Camp additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 08 Makgadigadi Pans National Park
Morning and afternoon game drives along the banks of the Boteti River and adjacent areas
Overnight: Camping at Khumaga Campground (Good facilities)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 09 Makgadigadi Pans National Park – Nxai Pan National Park
Morning game drive along the banks of the Boteti River

Game drive north on excess trail to Phuduhudu Gate. Exit the park and continue to nearby Nxai Pan National Park. Nxai Pan consists of a combination of dry pans, grassland, thick bush and clumps of mopane, acacia and baobab trees. Elephant, giraffe, kudu, wildebeest, hartebeest, springbok, impala, gemsbok and zebra are common to see. Spotting lions is general and cheetahs are seen very often too.

Enter at Nxai Pan Gate and continue north on a very sandy road. Make a detour to Kudiakam Pan, home to an isolated group of Baobabs known as Baine’s Baobabs, named after the famous painter and explorer Thomas Baines, who painted these baobabs in 1862.

Continue to Nxai Pan Campground. Afternoon game drive. Visit the waterhole, which is the only waterhole in the dry season, in a huge area. The waterhole is known for spectacular sunset photography with elephant and other species silhouetted against the setting sun.
Overnight: Camping at Nxai Pan Campground (Good facilities)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 10 Nxai Pan – Francistown
Backtrack on the sandy 4×4 road to the main road. Continue to Nata.

Visit Nata Sanctuary. The Nata Sanctuary at Sowa Pan, which is part of the Makgadikgadi Pans, is a community project and one of Botswana’s premier birding destinations. Nata Sanctuary is home to 165 bird species including flamingos and pelicans. After good rains, hundreds of thousands of globally threatened Lesser Flamingos, along with Greater Flamingos, Chestnut-banded Plovers, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, and a host of other waterbirds converge on the nutrient-rich waters of the pans.
After good summer rains with the right level of water on the pan, the Sanctuary hosts the largest congregation of Lesser Flamingos in Southern Africa.

Continue to Francistown.
Overnight: Camping at Woodlands Stopover / Dumela Camp (Chalets available at additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 11 Francistown – Marekele National Park
Proceed to Lephalale. Replenish supplies for catering at Marekele.

Continue to Marekele National Park. The Marakele National Park in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains, the transitional zone between the dry western and moister eastern regions of South Africa. Contrasting majestic mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys characterize the park. Rare finds of yellowwood and cedar trees, five meter high cycads and tree ferns, are some of the plant species found here.

All the large game species from elephant and rhino to lion, leopard, cheetah, brown and spotted hyena, antelope species such as reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, eland and tsessebe as well as an amazing variety of birds including what’s probably the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures (more than 800 breeding pairs) in the world, have settled here. The western section of the park is one of the best places in South Africa to see white rhino.

Enter the park and continue to Camp Ground in the Western Section.

Do an afternoon game drive through the Western Section. The Camping area is frequently visited by rhinos at night
Overnight: Marekele (Safari Tent available at additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 12 Marekele – Johannesburg
Depart on a morning scenic game drive up the Waterberg Mountain. If the wind direction is favorable, one gets excellent photo opportunities from the view point at the top of the mountain of Cape vultures gliding low overhead. Game drive to the gate.

Continue on a game drive to the exit gate. Depart to Johannesburg. Drop off at OR Tambo International Airport or at accommodation. (Accommodation not included)

Flight schedule to be finalised. (Flight not included)
Meals: B

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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Upington 8801

TEL/FAX: + 27 (0) 54 3380375
CELL: + 27 (0) 82 4935041