Kalahari Gemsbok National Park Things to Do

  • Desert Lion
    Desert Lion
    by MikeAtSea
  • Desert Lion
    Desert Lion
    by MikeAtSea
  • Desert Lion
    Desert Lion
    by MikeAtSea

Most Recent Things to Do in Kalahari Gemsbok National Park

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    Meerkat

    by MikeAtSea Written Oct 11, 2005

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    Meerkat

    Suricates spend a lot of their time on guard, looking out for predators. In South Africa Suricates are commonly known as Meerkat. Suricates have a tan to grey coat with brown bands on the back and sides, the head and the throat are greyish white.
    Suricate (Meerkats) are diurnal. They live in colonies of up to 30. When emerging from their burrows in the early morning, they tend to sunbathe before spending the day foraging for small prey. Adults take it in turns to stand on sentry, finding a convenient vantage point where they can watch for predators, such as eagles.

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    Gemsbok (Oryx)

    by MikeAtSea Written Oct 11, 2005

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    The oryx is a large antelope of striking appearance with long, spearlike horns. It has a thick, horselike neck with a short mane and a compact, muscular body.
    The oryx's ringed horns are up to 30 inches long, making them formidable weapons. The female's horns are often longer and thinner than the male's.
    Originally, various oryx species were found in all of Africa's arid regions. One species that occurred on the Arabian Peninsula was exterminated recently but has now been reintroduced into the wild from captive stock. Well adapted to the conditions of their hot, arid habitats, oryx can live as long as 20 years.

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    Springbok

    by MikeAtSea Written Jan 10, 2005

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    In abundance one finds the Springbok in this park. The national animal of South Africa is a fast antelope that can jump long distances.
    If you move slowly you will be able to get very close to them since they are quiet used to cars. During the heat of the day they are assembled in the shadow of trees.

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    Desert Lion

    by MikeAtSea Written Jan 10, 2005

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    Imagine Lions in the desert - but this is exactly what one finds in the Kalahari Gemsbok Park. Seeing them they appear a lot bigger since there is very little vegetation around. Check at the gate or the camps if someone has sighted any and then follow the direction. Lions are lazy during the day hence if a pride was spotted it is bound to be near by. Though lions have almost the same colour as the desert, watch careful and if you think you see something, stop - it maybe the lions!

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    Hartebeest

    by Waxbag Written Dec 2, 2004

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    Red Hartebeest

    The Red Hartebeest is the third most common antelope in Kgalagadi behind the springbok and gemsbok. It has very flat head from its forehead to its mouth. It is a large antelope weighing 280-500lbs (130 – 230 kg) and stands nearly 5 feet tall (1.4 m)

    The coat is red to reddish brown and has a white rump and black tail. There are some black marks on its upper legs. It’s mouth and forehead are black and the horns are “V” shaped and curved behind.

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    Kori Bustard (Common in Kgalagadi)

    by Waxbag Written Dec 2, 2004
    Kori Bustard in Kgalagadi

    Kori Bustards are another bird that is common in Kgalagadi. These birds are enormous. They are the heaviest flying birds in Africa, although rarely flys. The wings are mostly grey with white and black spots on the leading the edge. The neck is darker grey. Head is pointed into a long beak and quill-like had feathers.
    This bird feeds on grasshoppers, dung beetles, rodents, reptiles, wild melons, seeds ands, roots.
    Sometime found in large groups walking in a line scouring and scavenging the ground for any food.

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    Secretary Birds (Common in Kgalagadi)

    by Waxbag Written Dec 2, 2004
    Secretary Birds

    The Secretary bird is one of the more common raptures found in Kgalagadi. They are long legged eagles that have adapted to the savannas. They are a light grey with black and white on the tips of their feathers. Their face is red with a yellow beak and their legs tend to be an orange or orange-red.
    Their name comes from the pointed feathers on their necks resembling a secretary’s quill pen stuck in the hair. The birds are usually found in pairs walking the ground looking for food. They may also be found in the top of a tree resting but usually go strait to ground when you approach.
    This bird eats insects, rodents, lizards, smaller birds and snakes. It is especially adapted as a snake killer as it balls its foot up into a fist and violently pounds the snake to death.
    Secretary birds stand tall at nearly 5 feet (1.5 meters) and have a large wingspan of 7 feet (2 meters).

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    Spot the Honey Badger

    by Waxbag Written Dec 2, 2004
    Honey Badger

    Honey Badgers are among some of the most interesting carnivores you may see. They are busy creatures constantly searching for food. They are found in semi-deserts as well as savannas and forests all over Africa. They are strong creatures with very thick, loose skin. They have a set of sharp teeth with powerful jaws. If attacked they can quickly turn on their attacker and bit due to the looseness of their skin. The Honey Badger covers quite a distance each day (around 20miles/ 35 km) looking and digging for food. It is an avid digger and likes to eat larvae and honey. It will also find an easy meal out of snakes that apparently are not threat.
    Height: 9-11 inches (22-28 cm)
    Weight: 18-25 lbs (8-16 kg)

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    The Dune Roads

    by Waxbag Written Nov 30, 2004

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    Black Bustard

    There are two dune roads in the park that connect the Nossob and Aoub River roads. The dunes are the classic rolling piles of orange sand with very little vegetation. There are not many large animals to be found out here away from water but you may find the kori bustard, black bustard, redcrested korhaan, as well as the occasional black back jackal and gemsbok. Be on the look out for cheetah as they have been spotted sitting on a high spot looking out over the dunes. The northern dune road is the longest at 55 km and the southern road is 35 km.

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    The Nossob River

    by Waxbag Written Nov 30, 2004

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    Black Backed Jackal in Nossob River

    The Nossob River is more shallow and wider than the Aoub River. The Nossob River runs from Twee Rivieren along the Botswana boarder through Nossob Camp and then to Union’s End through to Namibia. It is possible to spot large herds of impala and gemsbok in these river beds. Common raptors found here are pale chanting goshawk, African hawk eagle, tawny eagle, secretary bird, and martial eagle. I also spotted a lappet faced vulture and a barn owl near Nossob. Up further north near Union’s End spotted hyena may be found. Lion can be found up and down the river bed, and black backed jackal is very common.

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    The Aoub River Drive

    by Waxbag Written Nov 30, 2004

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    Giraffe in the Aoub River

    The Aoub River runs along the west side of the park from Twee Rivieren Camp up through Mata Mata Camp and into Namibia. It is a narrow and deep river bed and offers a slightly different experience than the Nossob River bed. The river bed tends to be a little more green than the Nossob River and larger species of thorn tree is present. As you get closer to Mata Mata the dunes get a more reddish orange. There is a variety of woodland birds here including the hoopoe, pied barbet, swallow tailed bee-eater, cardinal, glossy starling, lilac breasted roller, yellow faced canary and , crimson bou bou. Raptors that may be spotted nesting are the gaint eagle owl, martial eagle, and black breasted snake eagle.
    The Aoub River is also where you may find the rare giraffe that has been recently introduced. I have seen more meerkat along the Aoub River as well. Lion may be found up and down the river bed, especially close to Mata Mata.

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    Save on the Park Expense

    by Waxbag Written Nov 16, 2004

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    Young Gemsbok

    Buy a “Wild” Card and Save Money
    The Wild Card program has been recently introduced in the South African National Park system to make the parks more affordable for those making multiple entries. The card has a small computer chip in it that stores and process information. South African residence may buy a card specific to one region or “clusters”. For instance the Bushveld Cluster would include Golden Gate, Kruger, Mapungubwe, and Marakele National Parks. International tourist pay the same no matter what. The price is good for one year no matter how many parks or how many times you visit.

    For all parks South African Residence pay R195 for individual, R335 for a couple, and R440 for a Family.

    For International tourist the card is R795 for individual, R1395 for a couple, and R1795 for a family.

    Other benefits like 5% cash back on accommodation, car rental, refreshments, etc. may also be available with the card.

    Kruger and Kgalagadi Parks costs R120 a day per person. Other parks are less expensive, but if you are planning to spend a lot of time in the South African national Parks, absolutely get the card.

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    What Game You May Find Here

    by Waxbag Written Oct 25, 2004

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    Springbok rest

    Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is the middle of the Kalahari Desert. It has sparse vegetation and most of the water is found in the dry riverbeds of the Auob and Nossob Rivers. This is a fantastic park to find predators and to see large herbivores that constantly search for water and sweet grasses. Lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena, brown hyena, honey badger, black back jackal and bat-eared fox are some of the predators you may find here. Springbok, gemsbok, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, steenbok are common and eland and giraffe uncommon. Ground squirrel and suricates (meerkats) are prevalent. There are no larger game here such as buffalo, elephant or rhino, but the amazing landscapes and the better opportunity of spotting predators make up for that lacking.

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    Gemsbok

    by Waxbag Written Oct 25, 2004

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    Gemsbok

    The gemsbok, or Oryx, is a large antelope with very strait serrated, horns. They are grayish with black and white markings and have a horse like tail. They are quite common.

    The uniqueness of this species of antelope is its adaptation to the desert climate. It survives on meager amounts of water mainly by eating wild melons and cucumbers. They are efficient users of water and can go with out urinating. They have a unique way of cooling their blood in their sinuses as air breathed in passes across arteries for heat exchange.

    For a big and dangerous looking animal, these gemsbok are very skittish.

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    Meerkats, Facinating Social Creatures

    by Waxbag Updated Oct 25, 2004

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    Meerkats

    Meerkats, also called suricats, are a busy animals. They are small like mongoose but are much more entertaining. They are found in dry open country and live in dens in large packs of 30 or more. They are always busy sratching at the earth looking for invertebrates, digging out their dens which are sometimes share with squirls and other small mamals or standing guard looking for danger. They stand on the hind legs using their tail as a kick stand to hold them up. There are plenty of birds of prey, jackals, hyena and other large predetors to look out for.

    They are very social creatures and constantly interact with one another. If you get lucky and spot a den, which are occasionally right off the road, sit and watch these creatures for awhile. They will not disappoint.

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Kalahari Gemsbok National Park Things to Do

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