Mabuasehube Section

The eastern Mabuasehube section covers 1800 sq km and is the easiest area of the park to access from the Botswana side of the border. Here, a series of salt pans, separated by classic Kalahari scrub vegetation, makes this section of the park a worthwhile destination in its own right. That said, if you restrict yourself to Mabuasehube and surrounding pans alone, you'll miss the exceptional breadth of Kalahari landscapes that is a feature of this park.

The two largest pans, Mpayathutlwa and Mabuasehube, are also the most beautiful, surrounded as they are by low hills that offer some gorgeous views early in the morning or late in the day. There are 4WD trails that circumnavigate both pans. Mpayathutlwa Pan, 12km west of the park gate, has a water hole at the northern end (some of the best views are to be found close to where the trail leads down the hill to the water hole) and two appealing campsites on the western side. Mabuasehube Pan, around 10km north of Mpayathutlwa, is similarly superb, with marvellous views from all along the southern edge and parts of the eastern and western sides; the trail heads off into the bush at the northern end, but there is a fine lookout halfway around. Mabuasehube Pan is used as a salt lick by migrating herds in late winter and early spring.

The other, smaller pans – Lesholoago, Monamodi and Bosobogolo – are also worth exploring. On the northern side of Khiding Pan, 11km west of Mabuasehube Pan, meerkats are a real possibility if you go quietly.

Two Rivers Section

Although you can reach the Two Rivers section from either Kaa or Mabuasehube, access is still easiest from South Africa. However you get here, the pools of rainwater that collect in the dry beds of the Auob and Nossob Rivers provide the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Here you'll also come across Kalahari dunes and camel thorn–dotted grasslands.

We recommend spending at least three days in this area of the park, slowly making your way back and forth along the riverbanks and dipping down to the river's edge where possible, but allowing time also for watching and waiting from the shadows as wildlife comes and goes. Look up also into the trees for horizontal branches that might just provide a vantage point for a sleeping leopard.

There's a lot of ground to cover – it's 161km from Two Rivers to Nossob and a further 61km to Polentswa, and this section offers the best wildlife watching – and that's just along the Nossob River. Over on the Auob River, it's 121km from Two Rivers to Mata Mata, which will take around 2½ hours, or even longer if you stop along the way, as you will in all likelihood. And don't neglect the trails that connect the two rivers – it is a little-known fact that lion prides thrive close to river confluences, and this is classic Kalahari lion country.