Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park                      
Africa's first formally declared trans-border conservation area - the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) on the border of South Africa and Botswana, is located in Kgalagadi District approximately 865 km southwest of Gaborone. The combined land area of the KTP is about 38,000 sq km of which 28,400 sq km lies in Botswana and 9,600 sq km in South Africa.

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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park                          
Transfrontier parks, border parks or transboundary conservation areas are protected areas that straddle international boundaries. The
KgalagadiTransfrontierPark is such a protected area in the southern Kalahari Desert. The southern Kalahari represents an increasingly rare phenomenon: a large ecosystem relatively free from human interference. The absence of man-made barriers (except to the west and south of the Park) has provided a conservation area large enough to maintain examples of two ecological processes that were once widespread in the savannahs and grasslands of Africa. The large scale migratory movements of wild ungulates; and predation by large mammalian carnivores. These processes are impossible to maintain except in the largest of areas, and their presence in the Kalahari makes the system of special value to conservation.

In addition to this, the Kalahari has a particular aesthetic appeal. The harsh, semi-arid environment has placed adaptive demands on both fauna and flora that are of considerable scientific interest. Few other conservation areas have attracted so many research projects. This research has revealed a widely fluctuating environment, driven by rainfall events, which vary widely in time and space, and produces a system that is difficult to predict and understand without long-term study.

The significance of the KgalagadiTransfrontierPark is that it is the first formally declared TransfrontierPark in Africa and it will hopefully serve as a model for conservation in the 21st Century. The Government of Botswana is keen to make the TransfrontierPark a success. The Peace Parks Foundation (an NGO dedicated to promoting transfrontier parks in southern Africa) has played an important role in the development of the KgalagadiTransfrontierPark and provides assistance for the creation of other transboundary conservation areas in the region.

To get to the park from Botswana travel from Gaborone on tarred road for about 550 km until Tsabong in Kgalagadi District, from Tsabong travel for about 310 km on gravel road. This road is negotiable by 4 x 2 vehicles during the dry season and 4 x 4 vehicles during the wet season. The alternative route is to travel from Gaborone to Hukuntsi on tarred road for 530 km followed by approximately 171 km of sand road, which is negotiable by 4 x 4 vehicles only.