A voyage to the Kalahari is like catapulting into a parallel universe. It’s a surreal Alice-through-the-looking-glass experience where you are feeling really small and everything around you looms larger than life. Timeless and magical, solitary stretches of space spin on into infinity; and shapes distort under a blanket of scorching desert heat.
A mystifying collage of fiery sunsets and shifting crimson sands, of lush green fields and gushing waterfalls, magnificent wildlife reserves and tidy vineyards, this region will enchant long after you depart. confirm you inspect these highlights.
The Northern Cape’s rugged northwest may be a land of immense sky and stark countryside, and it’s an extended, hot jostle down dusty crimson roads to succeed in magical Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, located largely within the southern Kalahari, and one among the world’s last great, unspoiled ecosystems. But once you step foot inside Africa’s first multinational park, tucked away between Botswana and Namibia within the country’s extreme north, you’ll understand why journeying to the top of the world is well well worth the effort. The Kgalagadi may be a wildland of harsh extremes and frequent droughts, where shifting red-and-white sands meet thorn trees and dry riverbeds.
Yet despite the desolate landscape, it’s teeming with wildlife. From the pride of black-maned lions to packs of howling spotted hyenas, there are quite 1100 predators here, including around 200 cheetahs, 450 lions, and 150 leopards. Add in those giant orange-ball sunsets the continent is legendary for, and black-velvet skies studded with many twinkling stars, and you’ll desire you’ve entered the Africa of storybooks.
It’s another long, disk drive down a corrugated road to succeed in the remote village of Riemvasmaak, except for adventure junkies checking out a soul-soothing retreat, the journey is worth every bump. the sunshine during this magical mountain desert wilderness is otherworldly and intense, capable of shifting shapes and changing colors. Donkey-carts remain the most mode of transport across the cracked expanse of frosted orange rock and sand in Riemvasmaak, and semi-nomadic locals herd sheep and goats an equivalent way they need for hundreds of years.
Traversing its terrain ranges during a 4WD is often anywhere from easy to super challenging – be ready for deep sand, rough tracks, and rocky plateaus. Besides four-wheeling, there are three hiking trails and a sand-and-rock mountain-bike trail. Just beyond the village is that the Molopo River gorge, a spectacular rough-and-rocky canyon home to a pair of rare black eagles and a cool, totally solitary hot mineral pool (your party will likely be the sole soakers) on the dry riverbed’s floor. you’ll camp right by the recent springs.
This area also hosts Namakwa, the type of vast, empty place where the roads stretch on forever, the celebs seem bigger and brighter than anywhere else and you’ll tumble off the map without anyone noticing. From exploring the misty ship-wrecked diamond coastline on the country’s far western edge to four-wheeling through an otherworldly mountain desert, experiences compile fast here.
Namakwa is additionally a proficient magician, who performs her favorite trick each spring. That’s when she shakes off winter’s bite with an explosion of color, covering her sunbaked desert during a multi-hued wildflower blanket so spectacular you’ll leave believing miracles do happen.
A further 200 km east, the Witsand Nature Reserve is predicated upon a white dune which stands call at stark contrast to the standard red Kalahari sands surrounding it. Bizarrely, this one also comes with a soundtrack – when the wind blows where the sand sings. referred to as ‘roaring sands’ the effect is made by the movement of air across the dunes and creates a bass, organ-like sound; walking on the sands produces a muted groan.
One of the good things to try to here is rent a sandboard (a snowboard for the sand), hike up a dune and ride down. you’ll also fly through the sand on a cycle. Wannabe astronomers will want to see out the night sky – this is often one among Africa’s finest stargazing spots.
Also known for its great noise is that the Augrabies Falls park, whose waterfall features a thunderous roar nothing in need of spectacular. You won’t find any big predators here, but this is often the world’s sixth-tallest waterfall, which gets fat with rainy-season run-off.
Once you’ve finished the diligence exploring the region, taste the wines of the Senqu (Orange) River, which belong to the irrigated, fertile banks of the ‘Green Kalahari’. Still, there are plenty more wide-open spaces during which to urge lost, do you have to choose