Expert Reviews – Khaudum NP
Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.
9 people found this review helpful.
Wild Elephant Wilderness
Khaudum is wild and it is remote. Consequently, tourists are few and far between in this rewarding off-the-beaten-track game reserve. In addition to being completely self-sufficient, visitors need a real 4x4 to tackle the park's deep sand tracks. In spite of lion, cheetah and wild dog roaming the park's arid expanses, Khaudum is best known for its incredible concentrations of elephants. These grey giants congregate in their hundreds to drink and mud bath at the park's 14 boreholes and natural springs – which supply the only permanent water supply within this sun-baked wilderness. The waterholes function like magnets for all manner of wildlife and a handful of adventurous safari enthusiasts. According to Dries Alberts, Warden of Khaudum, "The Khaudum National Park was established with conservation in mind and not for cash generation. This simple guiding characteristic gave birth to the true wilderness feel that embraces one's soul when visiting the park. It is wild, and we want to keep it like that." Personally, I couldn't agree more ... If you are enamoured by elephants and relish exploring untamed Africa, Khaudum certainly won't disappoint.
Emma is an award-winning travel writer for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa magazine and The Independent.
3 people found this review helpful.
Well off the beaten track, on the trail of elephants and wild dogs
Kaudom (sometimes spelt Khaudum or Khaudom) is little visited as it’s difficult to reach (you have to choose between flying in or, once you’ve left the main road, a long, sandy journey by 4WD) and there are no lodges, just areas set aside for camping. Despite this, I think getting there is worth the effort, especially if you like the idea of heading off on a back-to-basics wilderness camping trip on which you’ll see wildlife, but no other travellers.
Close to the Botswana border, the landscape here is an open patchwork of thinly vegetated savannah. It may be part of the Kalahari, but it’s surprisingly green after the rains, and a certain amount of underground water remains all year round.
While in general the park infrastructure is rudimentary, there are hides overlooking the permanent waterholes. Hang out here for a while and you’re likely to see some of the elephants which pass through in large numbers as they travel between Namibia and Botswana. You may also have the chance to watch roan antelopes, hartebeest and tsessebes. I find predators rather hard to see here as there’s plenty of cover, but hyenas, lions and leopards are present and if you’re lucky, you may see wild dogs, which are more numerous here than anywhere else in Namibia.
Anthony is a photographer and writer for travel magazines and Lonely Planet, including the guides to Kenya and Botswana & Namibia.
Khaudum: Predators in the Wilderness
Khaudum won’t be for everyone. Safari infrastructure is almost non-existent, restricted to two barely maintained wilderness campsites. The trails here are also sandy and heavy-going, and the park authorities require a minimum of two vehicles per convoy for those visiting the park. But for those who love adventure, the rewards are many. Nowhere else in Namibia is there that same sense of remote wilderness that you get in Khaudum – the sense of silence, the infinity of stars undimmed by lights, the absence of other vehicles. In some ways, this is a return to the old safari ways, to the days of do-it-yourself safari experiences that led to total immersion in the African wild. It’s a vast park and so wildlife can be elusive, but it remains one of the best places in Namibia for lions outside of Etosha, while African wild dogs are also a highlight here. There’s terrific birdwatching (over 300 species), as well as elephant, kudu, gemsbok and fleet-footed tsessebe.