Africa’s first formally declared trans-border conservation area, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, on the border of South Africa and Botswana, was officially launched on May 12, 2000 by then South African President Thabo Mbeki and Botswana President Festus Mogae.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is situated approximately 250 km from Upington in the far Northern Cape and 904 km from Johannesburg.
The combined land area of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is +/-38,000 km² of which 28,400 km² lies in Botswana and 9,600 km² lies in South Africa. Transfrontier parks, border parks or transboundary conservation areas are protected areas that straddle international boundaries. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is such a protected area in the southern Kalahari Desert. The southern Kalahari represents an increasingly rare phenomenon: a large ecosystem relatively free from human interference.
The absence of man-made barriers (except to the west and south of the Park) has provided a conservation area large enough to maintain examples of two ecological processes that were once widespread in the savannahs and grasslands of Africa. The large scale migratory movements of wild ungulates; and predation by large mammalian carnivores. These processes are impossible to maintain except in the largest of areas, and their presence in the Kalahari makes the system of special value to conservation.
Because of the sparse vegetation and concentration of animals in the dry riverbeds of the Auob and Nossob Rivers, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park offers premium mammal viewing destinations anywhere. It is especially renowned for predator watching and for the seasonal movement of large herbivores such as blue wildebeest, springbok, eland and red hartebeest.
Ground Squirrel and Suricate (Meerkat) are two more of the park’s more prominent species. Both these ground dwelling species live in large family groups for added protection and can easily be seen throughout the park. Honey Badger (Ratel), Pangolin (Scaly Anteater) and Bat-eared Fox are some of the park specials to search for.
But it is the predators that are the park’s biggest attraction. Excellent chances of seeing cheetah, leopard, brown and spotted hyena and the definitive black-maned lion exist.
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