Molopo Kalahari Lodge, named after the currently dry river the Molopo, is situated in the area known as the Green Kalahari, 200km north of Upington, 5km from the...
Where the red dunes and scrub fade into infinity and herds of gemsbok, springbok, eland and blue wildebeest follow the seasons, where imposing camel thorn trees provide shade for huge black-mane lions and vantage points for leopard and many raptors... this is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park.
An amalgamation of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa (proclaimed in 1931)and the Gemsbok National Park in Botswana, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park comprises an area of over 3,6 million hectares – one of very few conservation areas of this magnitude left in the world.
Red sand dunes, sparse vegetation and the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob show antelope and predator species off to spectacular advantage and provide excellent photographic opportunities. Kgalagadi is also a haven for birders, especially those interested in birds of prey.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park lies in the large sand-filled basin in the west of the southern African subcontinent, known as the Kalahari. It covers almost one third of the area and forms what may be the largest sandveld area in the world.
Both the Nossob (meaning dark clay) and the Auob (meaning bitter water) rivers have their sources in the Anas Mountains near Windhoek, Namibia. They flow South-easterly joining in the former Kalahari Gemsbok Park (6Km north of Twee Rivieren) and continue as the Nossob to the Molopo and Kuruman rivers 60km to the south. The Molopo River with its origin near Mafikeng, no longer reaches the Orange River as sand dunes near Noeneput have blocked its course for at least the last 100 years. These rivers are predominantly dry, only flowing for short periods after abnormally high rainfall.
Kgalagadi 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.
The Kgalagadi were some of the first people to penetrate the northern Kalahari and lived in comparative peace with the Khoe speaking inhabitants (Bushmen). Although they did not always remain there, the name they gave the area remained. Kalahari is derived from the Kgalagadi word Makgadikgadi, meaning saltpans or the great thirstland. The first English speaking settlers in the area came to trade with the people living in the Kalahari.
The Khoe-speaking people of Southern Africa are not one society but a collective of different peoples with different languages and cultural practices. They are united by their experience of being hunters and gatherers in southern Africa, particularly in the Kalahari.
Today there are about 100 000 Khoe speaking people in southern Africa. They live in small, scattered groups in the urban and rural areas of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In March 1999, they had a portion of their territory restored by the government of South Africa. This land included 27 769ha in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park forming the Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park.