Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana, comprising the two large national parks of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park and the Gemsbok National Park. A vast 38,000 square kilometers, this SANParks
(South African National Parks) destination is situated largely within the sand dunes and dry riverbeds of the Kalahari Desert. ‘Kgalagadi’ means place of thirst. Vegetation varies from the northern region, where there is shrub savannah and a series of pans, to the southern parts, where short trees, shrubs, and sand dunes dominate. The camelthorn tree, Bushman grass, Gemsbok Cucumber and Tsamma Melon are all interesting plant species to be found here.
The park is home to an abundance of wildlife. Vultures and raptors such as eagles, buzzards, and secretary birds are some of the 200 species of bird for whom the park is a habitat. Blue wildebeest, eland, red hartebeest and springbok also live in and migrate through the park, and are preyed on by Kalahari lions, cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas. The animals that inhabit this park are so well-adapted to the semi-arid conditions in the Kgalagadi Park
that they are able to live without water, drinking water when they can and subsisting on succulent plants. Even the fascinating Kalahari lions conserve body moisture by staying inactive during the warmest parts of the day and are able to survive on moisture from the body fluids of their prey.
© Leif A H Johansson Photography