Media Release: Two New Border Crossings for the Northern Cape
22 October 2007
The Northern Cape has two brand-new border posts, both in National Parks, linking South Africa and Namibia. This will be of great benefit to these more isolated areas of the province and will make the attractions of the wide-open spaces that the eco-tourist seeks, more accessible.
The Mata Mata gate between South Africa and Namibia was opened with much pomp and ceremony on 12 October by the presidents of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. This was just reward for many years of negotiation which has at last come to bear fruit.
The opening of the borders allows for a circular tourism route traveling through the arid areas of South Africa and Namibia, linking the outstanding National Parks of both countries.
Border Post With A Difference - Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: Mata Mata Tourist Access Facility
The Mata Mata gate has been opened in order to promote regional tourism and to facilitate access between the southeastern areas of Namibia and this northwestern corner of South Africa.
Only bona fide tourists to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park can use the Mata Mata Tourist Access facility between South Africa and Namibia. In terms of SANParks regulations, which are based on an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) a scoping document was compiled. Tourists are required to stay over for two nights in one or more of the official overnight facilities of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. This regulation will be strictly enforced and no commercial traffic will be allowed.
An environmental impact study was performed, where public stakeholder participation revealed very strong feelings that the Mata Mata gate should be for bona fide tourists visiting the region en-route or as a destination, and that commercial traffic or other tourists merely using the route as a shortcut without staying in this world renowned Transfrontier Park should be prevented from doing so. Due to the rustic nature of the park and the limited road infrastructure (quality and quantity) SANParks must take measures to ensure that guest experiences are not negatively affected by traffic that merely use this route as a shortcut, compared to those that make it part of their itinerary when visiting the region.
Tour operators and guests would be required to do their planning thoroughly and well in advance as the camps in the Park operate at high occupancies, which could result in guests being unable to use the Mata Mata Tourist Access Facility, should they not have a confirmed booking for one of the official overnight facilities in the Park.
Tourists from Namibia may make use of the new entrance to Kgalagadi, as a day or overnight visitor access point without checking in with the border officials at Twee Rivieren as long as they return to Namibia. If, however, a tourist leaves the Park to go in to South Africa or Botswana they will have to go to the passport control at Twee Rivieren, the only full passport control post on the South African side of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Hours – Mata Mata – Namibia:
Summer and winter 8:00 – 16:30
For more information: 054 5612000
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The pont was completely rebuilt at the Scorpion mine workshops and is now back in use, and offers an unusual and convenient way of crossing the Garib (Orange) River that separates the two countries. Before the opening of this border a very inconvenient 485km detour and about 4 hours drive had to be undertaken to cross from one side of the Park to the other.
Maximum carrying capacity is 6 Metric Tones or:
• 2 standard 4x4 vehicles without trailers
• 1 standard 4x4 vehicle with trailer
• 2 standard light motor vehicles with trailers
• 1 bus with a seating capacity of less than 20
Summer and winter: 8:00 – 16:15 (weather permitting)
For further information please phone the the park on 027 831 1506