Polentswa is a small unfenced camp just east of the Nossob road on the Botswana side of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. This wilderness camp has only three campsites all overlooking the Polentswa pan. Polentswa is a quiet and remote camp that offers a true wilderness experience.
Campsites at Polentswa
The campsites are rustic and basic, each site has a A-frame structure, long drop, and shower shelter where you can hang a solar shower or take a bucket shower. There is no running water or power supply so you need to be completely self-sufficient for the duration of your stay. Make sure you bring along enough water for drinking, washing dishes, and showers.
KT-POL-01 has an unobstructed view of the Polentswa pan and is also located nearest to the pan.
KT-POL-02 is slightly more elevated than KT-POL-01 with two big trees that may provide ample shade when the trees carry leaves. This is a nice site for bigger groups.
KT-POL-03 has a view of the pan however to the west, the view is slightly obstructed by trees, but also offers nice shade.
The Polentswa waterhole is a short drive from camp and the main attraction in the area. We visited Polentswa in January 2019 and during this time the waterhole was abundant with wildlife activity. This is a great spot for bird photographers to capture birds of prey. We spent hours at the waterhole and there was never a dull moment. We saw lions, spotted hyenas, a brown hyena, springbuck, tawny eagles, secretary birds, and black back jackals frequently visit this waterhole.
Campers at Polentswa and guests staying at Polentswa Tented Lodge have the exclusive opportunity to visit the waterhole during the “golden hour”. This is the hour just after sunrise and before sunset when light is soft and warm and prime time for photographers.
How to get to Polentswa
Polentswa Camp GPS Point: S25 05.241 E20 25.661
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park has entrance gates at Two Rivers/Two Rivieren, Mata-Mata, and Mabuasehube.
Polentswa is located 60 kilometers north of Nossob which is situated in the middle of the park. It can take a minimum of 4 hours to reach Polentswa from the nearest entrance gate, so give yourself enough traveling time while also taking into account the gate times.
The camp can only be accessed with 4×4 vehicles.
If you are planning to enter and exit the park through different countries, you need a passport and need to report to the Two Rivers/Twee Rivieren or Mata Mata gates as these are the only gates with passport control. A minimum of 2 nights stay in the park is required to be allowed to pass through different border posts. If you enter and exit through the same country, then no passports are required. Once in the park, you can travel freely between South Africa- and Botswana managed camps.
Upington – 466km
Twee Rivieren Gate – 213km
Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport – 1156km
Cape Town International Airport – 1262km
How to Book
Polentswa like any other camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is popular throughout the year so bookings need to be made well in advance.
Once you’ve made a booking, you will receive a booking voucher as confirmation issued by the Bostwana Department of Wildlife and National Parks.
Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP)
- DWNP central reservations: Tel +267 318 0774 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- DWNP office Maun: S19.98433 E23.42992
Alternatively, you can use a booking agent. We used Botswana Footprints for all our Botswana camp reservations.
Need to Know
- The camp is unfenced so be wary of roaming animals at all times.
- Pack everything away at night, hyenas and jackals love to scour camps in search of food and rubber.
- There is no running water at Polentswa, you need to bring your own for cooking, washing, and bucket showers.
- There are no power outlets at camps.
- The nearest fuel station and shop is about an hour’s drive away at Nossob camp.
- During the summer strong winds and dust storms are prevalent in the afternoons therefore braaing is not always an option.
Where do I check-in for Polentswa?
Upon arrival at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park at the Twee Rivieren Reception, go to the Botswana counter on the left and sign the register.
Do I need a passport to visit Polentswa if I enter through Twee Rivieren Gate in South Africa?
Only if you plan to exit the park through Mata Mata or Mabuasehube gate. If you enter and exit the park at Twee Rivieren, you do not need a passport.
Do I need to take a satellite phone?
This is a personal choice. The Kgalagadi has zero cell reception but Mata Mata and Nossob camps do sell Wifi vouchers if you want to get connected. The connection is not great but enough to send a Whatsapp to a loved one. Camping with a satellite phone at wilderness camps such as Polentswa does give you peace of mind.
What happens if I have an emergency?
In the event of an emergency contact or drive to Nossob camp, which is the nearest camp with an emergency radio. The staff will be able to assist and call for support if needed.
Do I need a 4×4 vehicle to visit Polentswa?
Yes, a 4×4 vehicle is necessary to access Polentswa camp. The roads in the park have gravel surfaces and in general, are not sedan friendly. It’s recommended to always travel with a 4×4 vehicle and 4×4 trailer/caravan when visiting the park.
For more Polentswa inspiration, check out Juba’s Journey video: