The Khaudum National Park is situated in the north-east Kalahari biome of Namibia, on the border to Botswana. Initially, Khaudum was established to protect the lifestyle of the San Bushmen who have inhabited the Kalahari Desert for thousands of years. Today, it is the most pristine nature conservation area in Namibia, falling within the Kalahari Sandveld, 3842 sq km in area.
The landscape is characterised by dry forests. The park is sustained by underground waters of dry, sandy riverbeds. Unlike Etosha National Park, this vast desert park is not crawling with wildlife, although it is home to a substantial amount of sought-after species. Khaudum is not accessible by regular vehicle, as Etosha is, and is not a good option for the novice traveller.
Khaudum National Park is wild and offers basic or no services at all, aside from a handful of very primitive camps.The camps in Khaudum are not fenced, so adventurous visitors can expect elephants, hyenas or lions to visit their campsites and should be prepared for such an event.
Khaudum National Park is a 4x4 only destination. This is where guests who are experienced low-range drivers go to enjoy something remote and rough. Vehicles are available to visitors but fuel is not readily available, therefore preparation is essential.
There are 12 Artificial waterholes and 2 natural fountains in the park; most have hides from which tourists can safely view wildlife. When the winter months are dry, these waterholes are where the animals go to drink, making for exciting game viewing.
Basic camping facilities exist at Sikeretti and Khaudum, yet nearest supplies are only available at Grootfontein and Rundu.
Travel is slow, heavy on fuel, and your 4x4 must be constantly engaged, due to thick sand roads throughout the Park. It is recommended that no less than 2 vehicles travelling in convoy attempt the park.
Tsumkwe Lodge is situated 2km south of the town centre and is the ideal base from which to explore the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Khaudum National Park, with the abundant birdlife after the rainy season and herds of Springbok, Wildebeest and occasional Oryx and Elephant.
In the dry, winter season, Khaudum's permanent water holes are a magnet for large numbers of game. Tsessebe, roan antelope and red hartebeest are all present along with a healthy number of predators; including lion, spotted hyena and African wild dog. Perhaps the most spectacular are the elephant herds which migrate from Botswana.
This open-park system ensures that wildlife can pursue hereditary migratory routes to and from the water-rich Kavango River and floodplains, including the Okavango Delta, a mere 150 km from the park boundary. Elephants come in their hundreds and at times it is possible to see up to 300 gathered around a waterhole at one time. Around 3500 animals have been counted during surveys conducted in Khaudum National Park, making it an incredibly game-rich area.
Renowned for its leopard population, the Khaudum National Park is also one of the few refuges in which rare and endangered species such as roan antelope and African wild dog can roam freely, underlining the important conservation status of the park. Over 320 different bird species have been identified in the park.
The climate in Khaudum National Park is subject to summer rainfall; approximating 436mm annually, starting in November and lasting through to April. Drier winter months see the migration of hundreds of elephants from Botswana into the park.
Temperatures during the colder months of winter average a minimum of 7 degrees Celsius, yet maintain a hot average of 38 degrees, while peaking at around 45 degrees Celsius in summer. Namibian Ministry of Tourism recommends a minimum of 100 litres of water per vehicle per day be carried with visitors entering Khaudum, as the heat can cause severe dehydration.
Winter months peak mid-year, during June, July and August, while the summer months arrive in October-November. Namibia is a very dry country and there is not a lot of summer rain, but the aridity of winter makes game viewing easier, as the animals flock to the waterholes in search of water.
There are only two campsites within Khaudum National Park itself: Khaudum Camp and Sikeretti Camp, in the south and north of the park respectively. These camps are very basic, unfenced, over-night sites for self-drivers.
Nhoma Safari Camp is a lodge situated 40km outside of Khaudum in a bushman village, 80km from the main town of Tsumkwe. Set on a sand dune, vegetated with Zambezi Teak trees, and boasting a 180 degree view over the Nhoma fossilised river bed.
Tsumkwe Country Lodge is situated 2km south of the town centre and is the ideal base from which to explore the Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Khaudum National Park. Bungalow accommodation as well as a campsite is available.
Guests visiting Namibia on a self-drive holiday can (and should!) incorporate the Khaudum National Park. The drive from Windhoek can take the better part of a day and it is recommended that one use a 4WD, as there are some mountain passes that require a bit of manouvering.
Alternatively, Sun Safaris can book guests in at one of the beautifully located lodges in the Kalahari area. It would be very beneficial for visitors to tour the area with one of the experienced guides, and the quick travel by flight will suit our guests' tailor-made itineraries.
Khaudum itself only has 2 campsites and does not contain any lodges, so guests would need to arrive self-sufficient. Alternatively, day trips in the Khaudum can be equally enjoyable, while nights can be spent at a lodge nearby. Self-driving will be necessary.