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Adorable meerkat at Tswalu

Land of the Bushmen - Kalahari (self-drive)


SCV10U
10 NIGHTS
FROM £995
International flights + car hire quoted separately
Visit Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa, home of the Bushmen, on this terrific self-drive holiday. See the majestic black-maned Kalahari lions, oryx & other desert-adapted wildlife, as well as the granite Augrabies Falls & the wildflowers of Namaqualand in season (Aug/Sept). You can also explore the Richtersveld & Port Nolloth.
Kgalagadi Self Drive Safari Kalahari Lion Bushmen South Africa
• 
Upington
• 
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
• 
Kalahari Lions
• 
Raptors
• 
Augrabies Falls
• 
Photography
• 
Springbok
• 
Wildflowers
• 
Bushmen
• 
Astronomy
• 
Upington
• 
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
• 
Kalahari Lions
• 
Raptors
• 
Augrabies Falls
• 
Photography
• 
Springbok
• 
Wildflowers
• 
Bushmen
• 
Astronomy
Day 1
Arrive at Upington Airport, collect your hire car and drive to your hotel in this small town that acts as the gateway to the vast Kalahari.
 
Check in and relax under warm blue South African skies.
Day 2
This morning drive 3-hours through the vast and arid Kalahari, one of the world’s last unspoilt ecosystems and one of Africa’s greatest wilderness areas. In this land of far horizons, marvel at the gigantic nests of the sociable weaver birds set high in camel thorn trees and stop to examine some of the amazing succulent desert plants which have adapted to survive in such harsh conditions.
  
The malaria-free Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a visionary 3.7-million hectare joint venture between South African and Botswana. Check into your rest camp, with accommodation in simple but comfortable air-conditioned chalets and tents.
Days 3 To 4
Today is devoted to self-drive game viewing in the vast Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. We recommend setting off early each morning as the camp gates open (05h30 to 06h00 depending on the season), to take advantage of the best game viewing conditions of the day.
 
Wildlife is plentiful in the red sand dunes and semi-desert of this vast game sanctuary, which is twice the size of the Kruger National Park. Of the many species of mammals and reptiles that have successfully adapted to the harsh desert conditions, the most famous is the black-maned Kalahari lion. Kgalagadi is also renowned for the magnificent oryx, cheetah and leopards - which are more easily seen in the sparse vegetation. You will see some of Africa’s most unusual animals in the Kalahari and many of the “great cats” – lion, cheetah and leopard – but the vegetation does not support elephants, rhino or buffalo.
 
You should see large herds of antelope including springbok, eland and blue wildebeest. You can also hope to see the brown and spotted hyena, black-backed jackals, curious meerkats, yellow mongoose, porcupines, honey badgers, bat-eared foxes, Cape foxes, African wild cats and many other interesting animals. Bird life is also prolific, with over 260 species, including 20 different raptors.
 
You can spend the full day on the road, or return to your rest camp for breakfast and some relaxation, before setting out again in the late afternoon for another game drive.
 
Note: Vehicles are not allowed to drive off-road in any national park in South Africa.
Day 5
After some final game viewing in Kgalagadi National Park today drive south for 4-hours through Bushmanland to Augrabies Falls. On the way we suggest a stop at a Bushmen craft stall to give you the opportunity of supporting the community by buying one of their hand-made products.
  
At Augrabies Falls - “the Place of Great Noise” - the mighty Orange River dramatically crashes over the rim of a granite canyon during the summer flood, to plunge 270 ft into the gorge below, forming South Africa’s largest waterfall and the sixth largest in the world. Accommodation is in simple but comfortable air-conditioned chalets.
 
Check in and and view Augrabies Falls on foot, where conditions for photography are excellent.
Day 6
Today is free for relaxation at Augrabies Falls, where you can enjoy a drive in the park and see giraffe, eland and other antelope.
Day 7
This morning leave Augrabies Falls and drive 3-hours into the heart of Namaqualand.
 
As we approach Springbok, you can expect to see miles and miles of brightly coloured wildflowers that bloom here each year during August and September – carpeting what is normally an arid semi-desert landscape. This spectacular natural phenomenon occurs for only a few weeks, with the quality and timing of the floral displays depending upon the mid-year rainfall. Check into your hotel in the heart of the wildflower region.
Days 8 To 9
During wildflower season, we suggest visiting Goegap Nature Reserve, as well as more remote regions such as Kamieskroon depending upon where the wildflowers are at their best. Enjoy photographing these colourful blooms, which are a truly remarkable sight (pay entrance fees locally).
 
At other times of the year there is much to photograph in these quaint rural towns in this far-flung part of South Africa, where the Bushmen once roamed. Learn more about their culture or adapt your itinerary to explore areas such as Riemvasmaak Canyon, the mountainous Richtersveld or the beautiful coastline at Port Nolloth instead.
 
In the evening marvel at the glorious night skies overhead, offering some of the best star gazing opportunities in the world.
 
Note: The wildflower areas only open at 11am.
Day 10
Today leave Namaqualand and drive 4-hour to Upington.
 
Check in to your hotel and relax under warm blue South African skies.
Day 11
Drive to Upington Airport for your flight home.
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