I have a confession: I left my heart in the Kalahari. Sure, it seems like a bit of a daft place to leave it but I couldn’t help it! When I was invited to visit Kgalagadi Lodge in the Kalahari, I was super excited but nothing could have prepared for me just how beautiful and magnificent it is out there in the South African desert. Forget, Cape Town – this is where the real magic of South Africa lies. Maybe it was the fact that we found so much beauty where we least expected it and so much more tranquility than we knew what to do with but from now on the Kalahari will be top of my list of places to visit the next time I’m heading out for a local holiday. Here’s why it should be at the top of yours too.
To get there we embarked on a rather epic road trip from Cape Town to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and while it was pretty far (about 10 hours of driving) it was totally worth it! Located on the edge of the South African and Namibian border the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is where those in the know go for a relaxing holiday of note and game viewing with a difference. I’ve been to the Kruger several times and now, after visiting this national park with wide open spaces I can safely say that it is just as noteworthy as South Africa’s most famous game viewing destination. Sure it’s crazy hot all the time but that’s part of the charm – I must say, being able wear shorts and a T-shirt day and night for an entire week was a treat of note.
But perhaps the best thing about the desert is that there’s nowhere to rush to – everything and everyone moves slowly because it’s hot and to be quite honest everything can wait until later. I loved that we could turn off our cellphones, take off our watches and just take each day as it comes. Some days we did nothing but read and laze by the pool and other days we ventured into the park for an evening game drive. If you’re looking for the perfect stress-free holiday then this my friend, is it! As for game viewing the 3,6 million hectare Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is one of very few conservation areas of this magnitude left in the world and is home to all sorts of must-see animal like the honey badger, Kalahari lions, cheetah, African wildcat, giraffe, leopard and scores of birdlife including the Marshall eagle and Pygmy falcon.
As for our accommodation we stayed at the oh-so-awesome Kgalagadi Lodge, located about 5 minutes outside the park gates. The self-catering lodge is the perfect place to use as your base if you’re looking for an affordable way to explore the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and enjoy a relaxing holiday. The lodge offers guests a luxury holiday experience with beautifully decorated chalets or ‘glamping’ spots complete with a fully equipped bathroom at each campsite. We stayed in a 2-bedroom family chalet and loved it! The chalet was fully equipped with comfy beds shrouded in beautifully white linens, a kitchen with everything we could possibly need, lounge area with large L-shaped couch, a flat-screen TV with DSTV, bathroom and a stoep with a built-in braai and outdoor dining table. The chalets really do feel like home are great for families or big groups traveling together.
Not far from the chalets you will find the swimming pool area, restaurant and bar. We spent many hours here lazing by the pool, playing board games and enjoying an ice cold drink. In fact, most days that’s all we did and boy was it glorious! When we were tired of cooking and braaing we also enjoyed lunch and dinner in the restaurant on two occasions – the food was excellent and the portion sizes incredibly generous. I tried the savory French Toast with bacon and cheese for breakfast (which at R45 was a total steal!) and for dinner I indulged in the incredible game carpaccio for starters and a steak and chips for mains.
The lodge also has its very own mini grocery store complete with butchery, bakery and bottle store on site. Here you can buy everything you need for your stay including freshly baked bread and rolls daily, fresh fruit and veggies, braai meat, beers and more. Instead of carting everything with us in the car, we stocked up on groceries for the week when we arrived. The prices weren’t bad at all and it was such a relief to know there was a shop nearby as the nearest small town was quite a distance away.
Accommodation at Kgalagadi Lodge is super affordable and the chalets are well maintained and very modern. For a family chalet you’re looking to pay R1200 per night (sleeps 4) while a standard chalet will set you back R700 per unit (sleeps 2 people). For information on prices and to book your holiday now visit the Kgalagadi Lodge website. You can also say Hi to Kgalagadi Lodge on Facebook for more information on the lodge.