Tackle the Nossob 4×4 Eco-Trail in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park…

They say, ‘When the Kalahari sand gets into your boots, you can never get it out’. It’s true. About six months after we return from a trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, after countless clean outs and against all logic, we still find the damn stuff just about everywhere. Even more so after doing the Nossob 4×4 Eco-Trail.

Person standing on 4x4 roof admiring landscape
Young male lion lying in duneveld

The Nossob 4×4 Eco-Trail is a 306 km four-day, three-night, guided 4×4 trail in possibly one of the most peaceful places on earth (depending on who you go with). The trail runs parallel to the Nossob riverbed and though you’re never really more than 10 km as the crow flies from the main road from Twee Rivieren to Nossob, if you didn’t know, you could really believe you were in the middle of one of the few places left on earth that time, and everyone else, forgot.

You don’t need Giniel de Villiers’ driving skills and any special gadgets in, on, or under your vehicle to drive it.

A decent 4×4 (preferably with low range) for the one or two challenging dunes along the way is all you really need because what the trail is really about is experiencing the Kalahari away from the hustle and bustle of its busy hubs, not to test your off-road driving skills.

4x4's driving on dirt road
People admiring large nest on Nossob 4x4 Trail

It’s about discovering the hidden world of desert plants and creatures and learning about how the Bushmen, with their respect and understanding of those plants and creatures, survived there. It’s about immersing yourself in the wilderness and tapping into those little-used survival instincts when you step out of your tent for a night-time wee under the stars. It’s about driving for hours in the dunes into the middle of nowhere, pitching a tent, building a fire, and making do with a long drop and bucket shower while the desert creatures go on about their lives around you. And although it’s not necessarily about game viewing, if you’re lucky you might find yourself doing a bit of that too – usually from the safety of your car, but sometimes, if you’re really (un)lucky, from the gauzy window of your tent.

Four days and three nights in the dunes is all it takes for the Kalahari sand to get into your boots (and just about everywhere else), but however much you curse those little nutmeg-coloured grains, you’ll want to go back for more.

Pale Chanting Goshwaks
Photographers capturing a sunset at Swartbas campsite

Photography

The Nossob 4×4 Eco-Trail is not your typical Kgalagadi photographic experience, which is usually spent at the park’s highly productive waterholes. On the trail you will probably take your best wildlife and nature photos in camp, where crimson-breasted shrikes, swallow-tailed bee-eaters and chestnut-vented tit-babblers, amongst other birds, become extremely habituated. Spend enough time studying their routine and you’re bound to get incredible bird portraits. The wilderness campsites also give you the opportunity to take emotive campfire photos at slow shutter speeds and, if you’re lucky, beautiful sunsets and sunrises.

Trail Guide teaches about Tsamma Melon
4x4 driving down steep dunes

If I want to go:

How are the roads?

For most of the trail you drive on sandy two-tracks through the undulating duneveld, which can easily be done in high range 4×4. Every now and again, however, you have to cross a steep sand dune in low range.

Trail details:

• The trail runs between Twee Rivieren and Nossob rest camps, starting at Twee Rivieren in even months and Nossob in uneven months.

• Duration is three nights, four days – departure every Monday. Total distance: 306 km (204 in the duneveld and 102 in the Nossob riverbed)

• Minimum two vehicles (excluding guide), maximum five.

• Guests have to cater for themselves. Remember to bring your own firewood and enough water for drinking, showering, cooking and washing dishes.

Accommodation:

The three trail campsites, Swartbas, Rosyntjiebos and Witgat each have a braai-area, long drop and bucket shower and are not fenced. In order to accommodate travelling times and distances you are advised to book the night before and after the trail at either Twee Rivieren or Nossob depending on the direction of the trail.