Kgalagadi...

Jan 1st, 2008, 12:03 PM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
Honestly, there isn't a camp that I wouldn't stay in, but my family prefers the wilderness camps because of their small size - 4 tents, maximum 8 people. TW and Nossob can be very busy, especially during school holidays, which we avoid. We especially like Bitterpan and Gharagab because of their isolation and solitude, and the drive into each camp. The drives across the dunes into each camp are wonderful - always a favourite part of our visit. You don't see another vehicle on those drives, so it is as if you have the park to yourselves. We do stay at Nossob - the only big camp we stay at - because of the large number of predators in the area and because it allows us more time for the drive into Gharagab and Bitterpan - trying to go from the main gate to Bitterpan or Gharagab is possible (I gather some people do it), but not at a liesurely pace. We like to take our time. Urikaruus is great - we had giraffe feeding on the trees beside our tents - it felt as though they were peering in at us - a wonderful experience. Athough KTC has more tents and therefore more people, we still like it very much. On our first visit in 2004, we had lions visit the waterhole twice - on one of those occasions, the lions were defending their cubs from hyenas - an amazing encounter. In 2006, we were awoken in the night by 3 spotted hyena in the camp - one climbed into the area between our tent and kitchen and howled - scared the heck out of all of us - very exciting! Kieliekrankie is all about the scenery - high up on the dunes with the waterhole below - very beautiful.

So....I'm not being terribly helpful here in helping you to eliminate any camps....my preference would be any wilderness camp, and Nossob (for it's predators and access to Bitterpan and Gharagab).

You'll have a great time no matter where you stay. Just be prepared for heat in November. We took to putting wet towels around our necks to stay cool. We experienced two spectacular thunderstorms when we were there in November - both at night while we slept - howling wind and brilliant lightening - fantastic! In the morning, you wouldn't have known it had rained except that the wonderful smell of the desert had come alive. The pools at KTC and Nossob provided welcome relief. I hope you have a great visit! Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 10:36 PM
  #42  
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Thanks Robin

We've included Nossob for the precise reason you mentioned - predators. Otherwise, I dont really have any interest in the larger camps. TR is in the itinerary only because we need to get to take an 1145 flight from Upington and need to be able to leave the park when the gates open.

I have read good things about both Grootkolk and Gharagab, but I dont think we have sufficient time to drive all the way up the Nossob riverbed and spend atleast 2 nights in each camp.
amolkarnik is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 10:35 AM
  #43  
 
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It's good that you are staying at TR the night before your flight - the drive to and from Upington will take you 3 hours - the last 45 min/hour of road before the park is a tad rough! The airport is on the way in to Upington when approaching from the park, so you won't even have to go in to town (if you are dropping your rental off at the airport) - not that Upington is very big.

It is a fair drive to the two northern camps - Gharagab in particular - from Union's End on the Nossob road into the camp along the dune road took us two hours (taking our time!). Grootkolk is right off the Nossob Road, so is much easier/faster to reach.

On our first visit to Kgalagadi in 2004, we spent only one night at Grootkolk and wished we had booked a second night. It wasn't so much that it had been a long drive to get to the camp (because it really isn't from Nossob), but more that we just loved the camp so much we regreted not having more time there. Gharagab would be a long way for only one night because the dune roads in and out are long/slow going - albeit very beautiful drives.

The one complaint I have heard about Grootkolk is that the kitchen areas aren't covered - never a problem for us because we visit in the dry season. We loved the camp!

If it came down to a (difficult!) choice between the two camps, I would go to Gharagab because of the lovely drive in and out of the camp (you are not allowed on the road unless you are staying at the camp) - my daughter compared the road as a cross between bumper cars and a roller coaster - she thought it was great fun - my husband and I loved the isolation and scenery.

Go well (as they say in SA!) Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 06:38 PM
  #44  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Robin, can you make the 11:45 flight from Upington when leaving Kielekrankie?
Thanks for all your info!
Any pictures posted anywhere?
matnikstym is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2008, 10:52 PM
  #45  
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Dennis - I believe KK is about 30 min from TR. I read on SANParks website that the rangers are amenable to opening the park gates about 30 min earlier than usual by prior arrangement for those wishing to get to UPN in time for the 1145 flight. Since KK is an unfenced camp, it should be possible to get off earlier from there with prior approval of the rangers.

I am myself wondering if its worth spending the night in TR and swapping it with a night in UPN, allowing for a relaxed start for the flight back to JNB. Unfortunately the last day of the trip is a complete washout in terms of wasting it just to get from UPN to JNB for a late evening flight to London.
amolkarnik is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 08:24 PM
  #46  
 
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KK to TR is more like an hour, maybe even 1.5 hours (just checked the SAN Parks website - they suggest allowing 1.5 hours). The drive from TR to Upington takes just about exactly 3 hours. Honestly, if all you are going to do is get up at dawn at KK, and then race to Upington without any time to do any game viewing, you might as well play it safe and leave late in the afternoon the day before and spend the night in Upington. La Boheme is a great place! I haven't posted any pictures from our visits I'm afraid - I'm not that organized! Too busy planning for our next trip! Robin
canadian_robin is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2008, 10:39 PM
  #47  
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How safe is the road from TR to Upington. If I chose to axe my last night in TR for one in Upington, would leaving the park just before gate-closing and then driving the 3 hours to Upington be a recommended solution? Bear in mind that this is in mid-November and the days would be a bit longer.
amolkarnik is offline  
Jan 4th, 2008, 06:59 AM
  #48  
 
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I certainly wouldn't want to be on the road between TR and Upington after dark - especially the first hour after leaving the park - we have encountered goats and sheep on the highway between TR and Andriesvale (about 60km). There are also often people on the road near Andriesvale. The first section near the park is also a rather rough stretch of road, and you need to be able to see the potholes. In November, it isn't dark until 7:00-7:30pm, so you could leave TR at 4:00pm and make it to Upington before dark. That would still give you a pretty full day in the park. Robin
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Jan 5th, 2008, 05:18 AM
  #49  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 179
Less than three months now... I will be there starting April 5th for 5 nights. 1 night at TR; 2 nights at Nossob and 2 nights at Kalahari Tented.

Celia, when in April are you going?

Robin, I believe it will be smack in the middle of the school holidays. Oh well, that's the best I can do.
safaridude is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 08:52 AM
  #50  
 
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When we went in November 2004, the park was very quiet - north of Nossob, we saw only 1 or 2 other cars. Typically, we saw maybe five other cars (over the course of an entire day) when we were in the more popular areas of the park. It was great! When we returned this past summer, in July, it was school holidays for the first five of the ten days we were in the park. We tried to avoid the school holidays, but we couldn't - our dates were determined by my husband's conference. We honestly didn't notice a huge difference between the first five days of our visit and the last five days - it was still pretty busy after the holiday period. I am beginning to think that the difference between our visits of November 2004 and July 2007 was not so much the months we visited and the fact that we were there (partly) for school holidays in 2007, but more the fact that the park is becoming better known and popular - thanks to recommendations in books like Frommer's and this forum. Also, with the addition of several camps since our visit in 2004, more people can be accomodated in the park. Hopefully, SAN Parks won't add too many more camps - a lot of the park's appeal is in the solitude. So...the good news for you is that I'm not sure the school holidays make much of a difference anymore - except that you really need to book early for those periods.

Over the Christmas holidays, we had a visit from the couple that we are traveling with in July 08 - they live in a different province in Canada - we showed them slides from our two previous trips to SA and Namibia, and it certainly made all four of us look forward to our upcoming visit to the park. They have never been to southern Africa before, and we are looking forward to sharing the Kgalagadi experience with them. I envy you April - we have to wait until July!! Robin
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