The Kuruman River Reserve

The meerkat project is situated in the Kuruman River Reserve (KRR), in the Northern Cape, South Africa approximately 17 km south of the Botswana border and 30km west of the small town of Vanzylsrus.

The study site consists of sparsely vegetated dune country on either side of the (mostly dry) Kuruman river, and in addition to meerkats there is a diverse community of birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. 


For more information, check out these links:

Climate and Terrain

Fauna and Flora - including downloadable guides

Local community

Visitor information and tourist attractions nearby



Climate and terrain

The Kuruman River Reserve covers 32 km2/20 mi2 of semi-arid dune country on either side of the dry bed of the Kuruman River in the South African Kalahari. Vegetation consists of scattered camel thorn trees (Acacia erioloba) along the river bed, grading out into dry scrub dominated by annual and perennial grasses and Rhigozum scrub. There is around 250 mm/10 in of rain a year, mostly falling between October and March. In the summer (October-March), temperatures range from midday highs in the low 40s°C/100°F (November-December) to nighttime lows of around 20°C/68°F. Temperatures are lower in winter (April-September) and often fall below 0°C/32°F at night in the coldest month (July). People working in the reserve generally rest during the hottest time of day. Humidity is typically very low and nighttime temperatures are usually comfortable.

The topography of the reserve consists of vegetated ("fossil") dunes covered with grasses and separated by valleys up to 300 m across. The dunes flatten as they approach the bed of the Kuruman River, which is usually dry.


Fauna and Flora

The Kuruman River Reserves represents the typical fauna and flora of the Southern Kalahari.

The reserve carries endemic game including gemsbok (oryx), blue wildebeest (gnu), eland, red hartebeest, springbok, duiker, steenbok, bat-eared foxes, porcupines, pangolins and three mongooses (meerkats, slender and yellow mongoose), but not large carnivores which would pose a threat to humans. Small predators like caracals and jackals have been observed, but they are rare in this farmed region. There is a diverse bird fauna representative of the Kalahari, including substantial populations of social weavers and pygmy falcons. In a one-year survey, 158 bird species have been observed in KRR.


The following downloadable files are available to visitors of the project who wish to learn more about flora and fauna at the reserve, but also about the bushmen who once lived in this region.


Last update:  13:38 19/07 2016
Local community
Visitor information

Big dune overlooking the Kalahari

Springboks in Kuruman riverbed

Crimson-breasted Shrike

Rus en Vrede farm land

Wild Iris

More pictures in our gallery

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