Trans Kalahari highway, Kang, Ghanzi, Maun and Namibia

The quickest way to get to Windhoek, by car, from Johannesburg is via the Trans Kalahari Highway. The Highway is a corridor that provides a direct route from Johannesburg to central Namibia. It also provides a shorter route to Maun in the north of Botswana.

Trans Kalahari highway – Condition of the road

The road between Pioneer Gate (near Lobatse) and Windhoek is in excellent condition. In general the Trans Kalahari highway is a straight wide road with no potholes. The road isn’t all that busy considering that it is the main road link between Johannesburg and Windhoek. Having said that, it is a very dangerous road, especially at night. On of the reasons for this is the fact that the road is unfenced most of the way, which means that animals are able to wonder freely across the road. Another reason is the vast distances between towns and villages, through a country side that changes very little in appearance, making it very easy to “nod off” behind the wheel.

Dancing in Ghanzi

The road between Pioneer Gate and Johannesburg is horrible by comparison! The Zeerust to Rustenburg stretch is busy and fast, attracting the “Nascar driver” wannabes. The shorter route to Johannesburg via Koster is narrow and full of pot holes.

The road between Charles Hill and Windhoek is in excellent condition.

Trans Kalahari highway – Petrol stations and rest spots.

Petrol stations in Botswana are few and far between. After Zeerust, the next petrol station one drives past without making a major detour, is in Jwaneng. Jwaneg has shops and banks. There is a Chickin lickin next to the BP garage those who prefer to eat on the run. The next stop after Jwaneng on the Trans Kalahari Highway at Kang, a 240KM drive. At Kang there is a choice of BP and Excel garages, both with excellent toilet, shop and restaurant facilities. Both Kang and Jwaneng make for good food and toilet breaks. Jwaneng Your next stop north is Ghanzi at a distance of 270 KM. For those traveling to Namibia, however, refueling in Ghanzi means a significant detour of about 90KM.

Walking with Bushman near Ghanzi

Walking with Bushman near Ghanzi

If you are traveling to Namibia and decide not to make the detour to Ghanzi for fuel then after Kang, the only reliable filling station on the Botswana side is at Kalkfontien. This filling station is off the main road and is un-signposted, but the will have fuel. The GPS coordinates are S22 08.593 ; E20 51.520. There is a filling station at the border on the Namibian side. Gababis has a number of filling stations an a choice of Banks and shops.

For those who would rather picnic, the Trans Kalahari Highway has many picnic spots along it’s whole length. Unfortunately, these have a tendency to be strewn with litter and “other stuff”, so if you have your own chairs and table you might find it better to find any shady tree to stop under.

Trans Kalahari highway – What to see and where to stay

Kang, being halfway between Johannesburg and Windhoek is popular overnight stop and boasts a number of comfortable lodges and a couple of camp sites. Most are found around the BP and Excel filling stations, but if you want to be away from the crowds then drive 25km further north to Kalahari Rest.

Kalahari Rest offers upmarket chalets, a camp site, restaurant, bar and pool. Although there are plug points at the camp site, they only switch the generator on for a few hours a night, and only when the have enough guests to warrant it. But, I my opinion, it is still better that the other accommodation in Kang.

Accommodation in a hut

For those who want to have a longer “first day”, then Ghanzi has a number of quality hotels in town. Ghanzi also has a couple of banks a filling station and some nice shops. For the more adventurous, Trail Blazers offer a bushman cultural experience, which consists of sleeping in a bushman style hut, a nature walk with “real” bushman and fireside traditional dancing. You will see the sign post to Trail Blazers about 10km or so south of Ghanzi.

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