For the past 30 years many of our holidays have been spent in one or other of the South African National Parks and the national parks in the neighbouring countries. They're all special in their own way, but our favourite by far is the Kgalagadi.
Although the variety of animals is much less than in Kruger and you will not find the Big 5 here, there is so much more than animal sightings to enjoy.
The absolute peace and quiet, the beautiful red sand dunes, the breathtaking stars... I could go on and on! Just to be here is sheer bliss.
There are a few negatives. The roads are badly rutted and Sanparks advise against ordinary sedans. Game viewing is generally better here from a higher vehicle anyway. But you don't have to drive around all day searching for animals. By simply sitting at a waterhole you can watch as the animals and birds come and go.
Accommodation is very basic and reasonably clean although definitely not spotless. All accommodation has en-suite bathrooms and is self-catering with small kitchens.
The 3 older, fenced camps are Twee Rivieren, Mata Mata and Nossob, all with chalets and camping sites. Petrol and diesel are available at these camps. Also in all 3 are small shops selling basic food and a few necessities. The Twee Rivieren shop sells curios and books as well. Twee Rivieren is the only camp in the park with a restaurant - food could be better.
Nossob and Mata Mata have waterholes which are well lit in the evenings. Both holes are frequently visited by large numbers of animals and birds.
The wilderness camps are newer and a great experience. They're not fenced. There are 5 small camps with 4 chalets per camp - 2 adults per chalet, children not allowed. The Kalahari Tented Camp is bigger with 15 tents housing 2 - 4 people and children allowed. Each wilderness camp has its own waterhole.
Summers are hot with day temperatures reaching 40 degrees C and higher. Winters are cold with night temperatures often minus degrees.
There are a few 4x4 trails in the park. See their website at www.sanparks.org
Bring your own drinking water. A must for the wilderness camps and the 4x4 trails.
The Kgalagadi is a photographer's dream.
Thunderstorms in summer are spectacular with dramatic skies. After good rains there are flowers everywhere and masses of yellow devil's thorn flowers creep over the dunes. Sunsets are beautiful. Sandstorms are not unusual.
The park is well known for its magnificent lions, leopards and cheetahs, for the large herds of antelope and for raptors such as the bateleur, martial and tawny eagles, owls and vultures. But there are many other fascinating smaller mammals (my personal favourite - suricates!) reptiles, birds and small ground creatures.
It is an awesome experience to visit the Kgalagadi National Park.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.