Be introduced to desert Botswana. Recognisable by its endlessly rolling, red sand dunes, parched fossil riverbeds and wide Acacia savannahs; it remains one of Africa’s richest and most remote safari destinations. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is where South Africa and Botswana relinquish their borders and offer the wilderness of the Kalahari to animals trekking along ancient migration routes. A protected peace park, it is one of the largest conservation areas in the world, sustaining truly unspoiled ecosystems and providing an environment preferred by predators and plains game.
Safaris in this desert expanse require thorough preparation and are carried out self-drive style, with drinking water and rooftop tents on the ‘necessities’ list. It’s a majestic maze of gravel roads and sparse shrubbery; scenery stretching toward sun-drenched horizons. It could excite holiday makers in the most weathered 4X4s, and possibly overwhelm the novice traveler. Next year, an offer presents itself; an opportunity to embark on the journey that will enrich your safari soul. The Kgalagadi experience with Ta Shebube desert circuit promises to reawaken the adventurer in you, creating the ideal Transfrontier trip.
Opening in April, Ta Shebube’s first luxury desert lodge, Rooiputs (indeed, the only luxury accommodation available on the Botswana side of the Park), is planting its roots in the thirsty riverbeds of the Nossob Valley, settled along antique red sand dunes that produce views over a popular waterhole. Individually thatched chalets are extended by wooden decks that must have been built purely to portray perfect panoramas, and furnishings reflecting the rich, ethnic textures of Southern Africa and the desert. Rooiputs has used spaciousness to coax relaxation, with guest areas designed for peace and privacy, allowing timelessness, as guests admire raptors frequently soaring over desert plains. An airy lounge area, bar, and a comfortable dining room request that equal time be spent in each, just to be sure that every view of the sprawling Acacia valley is enjoyed.
Following the opening of Rooiputs is the May debut of Polentswa, Ta Shubube’s second offering into the lap of luxury. A classic tented camp, Polentswa embodies the air of a bygone era; scented with nostalgia and romance, this camp reminds of the original safari. The camp is nestled atop a valley, amongst tall trees and at a breathtaking vantage point for the Polentswa Pan, reputed by blood-orange sunsets staining the characteristic fossil Nossob River. Scattered salt pans and dollops of vegetation comprise the scenery surrounding Polentswa. The waterholes attract a hearty number of gemsbok – a delightful offering to the prowling black-maned lions; a vision sought after, and the initial magnetism that is the Kgalagadi. Polentswa is putting an end to thirsty searches, and has reserved the front row seat.
As with the perfect three-course meal, there is always dessert. Ta Shebube restrains for a tempting period of time before revealing the third and final Kgalagadi camp in their desert circuit. In September, Union’s End opens its doors to complete this triumphant trio and allows visitors of this majestic Park to gorge themselves on the ultimate Botswana safari. Also situated on the banks of the Nossob River, this strategically placed camp is building its nest amongst tall Acacia trees, ensuring a spectacular view of the valley. This is where adventurous travelers will revel in the opportunity to remain rustic in six canvas tents. En suites provide much-appreciated comfort, while delicious cuisine is served under the stellar expanse that is the Kalahari night sky.
Designed to enhance the bond with nature that we are born with, Ta Shebube has developed a series of desert lodges stretching along the arid Nossob River Valley within the Kgalagadi’s vast borders. Botswana safari veterans can rest assured that here lies the opportunity, perhaps, to witness the splendor of the wilderness at its wildest from an unexplored perspective. Newbies, fear not the deserted terrain of the Kgalagadi, for what is to come will provide a sturdy stepping stone into the outstanding majesty of this unspoiled earth. Ta Shebube has filled the gap in the safari market with the development of Rooiputs, Polentswa and Union’s End. This anticipated launch is set and ready to knock socks off, so let it be suggested that this space be watched…