Famous for its gemsbok and black-maned lion, !Xaus Lodge is home to Kalahari mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians that have adapted to the desert.
Apart from the famous black-maned lion, predatorsto be found in the park include leopard, cheetah, hyena (brown and spotted), black-backed jackal, Cape fox, caracal and the African wild cat, among others.
The park has a rich birdlife– 264 species of birds have been recorded of which 78 are residents, 16 seasonal migrants, 18 nomads and 152 are vagrants and irregular visitors. Two-thirds of southern Africa’s raptor species can be spotted in the KTP.
The antelope of the Kalahari, from the shy steenbok to the gemsbok – synonymous with the KTP – as well as the massive eland, have all found ways to adapt and survive in these desert conditions. Enjoy seeing the large herds of springbok, as well as the solitary smaller buck that abound in the park.
A wide variety of reptiles and amphibians can also be observed in the park, among which is the yellow Cape cobra that can often be seen slithering in and out of the enormous sociable weaver nests.
What will you see at !Xaus Lodge?
In a desert, sightings of the large mammals are unpredictable, and never guaranteed. The park’s ‘high density’ game viewing areas are all along the Auob and Nossop riverbeds. !Xaus Lodge, in turn, offers visitors an extraordinary opportunity to see 90% of the things that visitors, stuck in their cars, never see. Because morning walks are an integral part of the Lodge activities, visitors will see ‘the small things’ that make up desert life. On a typical morning walk an alert visitor will be shown at least 100 different things – and most likely not one large mammal. Likewise, the waterhole below the Lodge does attract animals, but there is no guarantee that they will arrive to co-incide with your visit. And that’s the magic. It’s the unpredictability that makes every encounter so magical.
Come to !Xaus Lodge to see what the desert holds. It is always interesting.
The plant kingdom
The deceptively monotonous looking Kalahari plays host to hundreds of species of flora and even after 20 years of intense research, new flowering plants are discovered each year.
The soft parallel-running sand dunes are covered with a patchy vegetation of grass, shrubs and trees that serve to stabilise the dunes and offer protection from rain and wind. The camelthorn and shepherd’s trees are a source of life within the KTP ecosystem. They provide food but most importantly they provide shade from the harsh summer sun.
The umbrella-shaped canopy of the shepherd’s tree has the effect of lowering the temperature of the sand below from a shocking 73° C to 21°C.