Approximately 75 kilometers from Olifantshoek in the Northern Cape, the privately administered nature reserve, Witsand Kalahari, offers tourists the opportunity to witness the roaring dunes first hand. Proclaimed as a nature reserve in 1994, Witsand Kalahari lends its name to the white sand dunes surrounded by the typical red dunes of the Kalahari.
Tourists flock to the reserve for the opportunity to listen to the dunes rumbling (Brulsand in Afrikaans) when the wind strokes the sand particles together. Scientists are not in consensus of the exact cause of the sound emanating from the dunes, but the most accepted explanation is that a combination of dry air, uniform sand grains and lack of iron oxide coating may hold the key to the roaring dunes.
Where is Witsand Kalahari Nature Reserve?
Witsand Nature Reserve is situated in the Northern Cape province of South Africa in an area commonly referred to as the "Green Kalahari". The reserve is surrounded by the red dunes of the Kalahari, Acacia bushveld and the Langberg Mountain Range.
When driving on the N14 from Johannesburg to Upington, the signpost to Witsand is about 5 kilometers outside Olifantshoek. Turning left onto the gravel road, the impressive gate to the reserve is on the right hand side after about 75 kilometers.
The gravel road is usually well maintained and normal sedan vehicles should not have any trouble reaching the reserve.
Self - Catering Accommodation at Witsand Nature Reserve
Witsand Kalahari Nature Reserve offers four- star accommodation in either six-sleeper chalets or bungalows sleeping four or two people respectively. When designing the chalets, management refused to disturb the natural vegetation where it could be avoided. Kalahari Bushveld thus surrounds each chalet and ensures the privacy of guests.
The chalets at Witsand Nature Reserve consists of three bedrooms each with one and a half bathrooms, an open plan lounge and fully equipped kitchen and a stone built fireplace for barbeques and lounging around the fire during cold winter evenings. Management built water feeders under a shady tree at each chalet and during the day and at night, various animals drink from the feeder affording guests an opportunity to view sometimes seldom seen animals of the Kalahari.
The lounge is air conditioned while ceiling fans provide welcome relief from the harsh Kalahari temperatures during summer months. A shady veranda with comfortable chairs allows tourists to view the animals visiting from a safe distance. The reserve provides towels and linen.
Bungalows consists of three rooms sleeping four people each with bunk beds, a table and chairs in each room. Another four rooms hosts two people each. A communal braai (barbecue) area and kitchen services the bungalows and wire mesh keeps most of the wildlife from the veranda running the length of the building. The reserve only provides linen and guests must bring their own towels.
Campsites at Witsand Kalahari Nature Reserve
Ten campsites offer accommodation to sixty guests in the campground. The campsites are sandy and again the natural vegetation remained virtually intact when the individual campsites were planned. Each campsite has a fireplace and access to water.
The communal ablutions are not new, but it is well maintained and clean. The face-brick building blends in well with the surroundings and unless residents of the campground keep the door closed, local wildlife in the form of insects and other crawlers tend to visit the building.
Cellular phone reception inside the reserve is sporadic and guests should inquire from reception before arrival on which network operator services the area. The small shop provides the basic necessities as well as fire wood and with a swimming pool exclusively for the use of residents and another one shared with day visitors, hiking through the reserve, dune boarding and off-road driving available to entertain guests, the resort is well - worth a visit.
The Witsand Kalahari Nature Reserve is a popular holiday destination during both the summer and winter months and with the myriad of activities on offer, tourists must make reservations for accommodation in advance.