The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park covers the area of northwestern South Africa from southwestern Botswana to the southeastern edge of Namibia.
Previously called the Kalahari Gemsbok Park for the South African portion, it still lives up to that name - Gemsbok are commonly sighted. This slate tells of the experience we had on our May 2015 visit.
At the first waterhole north of our entry point at Twee Rivieren, we encountered a herd of Gemsbok; beautifully composed and always attentive - a thing to be appreciated throughout our visit.
Of the herds we saw, one stood out for its sheer numbers and age variety. The young males were head butting each other and there was some "pronking" with the hair on their backs standing up vertically and the fur around their butts all fluffed up.
The sequence below shows our view of a cheetah pursuit...
On another afternoon at the same camp we'd been watching a lioness lazing in the shade of a tree at the far side of the valley and decided to take a nap because it looked like it had settled in. Of course, when we surfaced, she had crossed the dry river bed to resettle about 50m away.
On our first arrival, two Spotted Hyena appeared out of the bush and galloped towards the waterhole. The smaller (male?) was shy and turned back into the shade of a distant tree while the larger (female?) continued doggedly en route to the water giving the buck in its path a wide girth.
A herd of 9 or more grazed on the trees in the distance constantly moving. We got a close up view the next morning as a solitary individual paced down the dry river bed.
Finally, the Steenbok, a loner: The three we saw included two males with their little horns and a hornless female.
We had hours of entertainment provided by the smaller species. A special highlight was an unprovoked attack by a Cape Ground Squirrel on a Cape Cobra. It was all over in an instant but we were able to capture the snake in cobra-posture immediately after the attack.
The commonly spotted Kori Bustard is the largest flying bird native to Africa. Spending most of the time alone on the ground, we were surprised one morning when we encountered a pair alongside two other loners. This is consistent behaviour according to references checked.
At 9 each morning when we happened to be near a waterhole, flocks of Sand Grouse performed aerobatics in formation with noisy accompaniment... We missed them twice!
We only stayed at two of the many camps, Twee Rivieren and the Kalahari Tented Rest Camp near Mata Mata. The tented camp was our favourite with its direct interaction with the park - no fences. Even the birds were friendly!
Two birds made their presence felt more prominently than the many others; the white crowned sparrow weaver and the familiar chat. Unfortunately we didn't get a shot of the hyper active chat because it seldom sat still. They followed us from camp to camp!
All photos by John and Elsje