You can fly into Upington and hire a car there. Upington airstrip is long – so long it was an emergency landing ground for the Space Shuttle. You would still be 200 miles from the Transnational Frontier Park there, which as its name suggests straddles 3 countries (South Africa, Namibia and Botswana)and is basically the Kgalagadi(Kalahari). You could hire a tent and trailer there if you fancy camping on the National Park Camps sites – and definitely not outside them as it is verboten unless you want an over close encounter of the terminal kind with lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena or any one of the other potentially killer beasts that are the adrenalin attractions of the Park. We drove of course, the whole 750 miles from Hout Bay the length of South Africa and stayed in the Park hotel units. We left early, with the morning sun painting Chapmans Peak pink. Once through the urban sprawl of the Western Cape the roads stretch out – we would joke of roads straight like this in Europe that ‘the Romans were here’. As we get into the Northern Cape the telegraph poles and power lines start to be decorated with the huge nests of social weaver birds. Stopping overnight on the Orange River we arrived the next day at the entrance to the Transnational Frontier Park. Two entrances side by side share the same reception, one for Botswana passport and Customs the other for South Africa.
The entrance building itself is a striking example of South African vernacular in a contemporary interpretation, cool and functional. Inside the gate is almost the only petrol station in the National Park, so filling up is required. To the camp from inside the gate is still some distance, but as with the weavers on the poles outside the camp, it pays to travel slowly and watch where other drivers stop to see the wild life. Here visitors are self drive so by definition are without guides. The guiding system is great because not only do guides understand the patterns of movement (and dangers) of wildlife in the parks, they also tell each other via radio where they are seeing beasts so that they can guide people to them. When self driving sharp eyes, going slowly and seeing where other vehicles are concentrated is the best way to spot the game. Binoculars are essential.