Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana
Homeland to the San Bushmen, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is remote, unexplored and inhabited by wildlife who can survive the harsh condition of the desert.
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Everything you need to know about Central Kalahari Game Reserve
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is one of the last truly remote Kalahari destinations – an inspiring space where you are unlikely to encounter other travelling groups as you make your way through rugged, yet stunningly diverse, terrain. What was originally intended to become a homeland for the San Bushmen has since been declared a game reserve and was only made accessible to the public fairly recently. As such, the Kalahari is ideal for adventurers with a love of the road less travelled.
Where is the reserve located?
If you’ve been yearning to explore a destination without internet or cell phone reception where you can truly get away from it all, the Kalahari Game Reserve should be on the top of your must-visit list. This is about as far off the grid as a seasoned traveller is able to go these days. The reserve covers an awe-inspiring 52,800 square kilometres (20,400 sq. mi), which is just shy of a tenth of Botswana’s total land area, making it the second largest protected game area in the entire world. Although the Kalahari sand basin is technically a desert, the reserve boasts a wide variety of habitats. Be ready to encounter flat bushveld, mopane forests, wide grasslands, acacia forests, ancient river beds, saltpan flats and more.
About the reserve
What type of wildlife will we see?
The region’s wildlife is mainly concentrated towards the northern reaches of the park. When the desert comes to life after the summer rains, the great migrations commence. Vast herds of giraffe, warthog, antelope, kudu and springbok venture into the lush grasslands, with wild dogs, leopard, lion, hyena and cheetah hot on their heels. Bird life is immensely diverse, and travellers are also likely to encounter reptiles, scorpions and insects of all shapes and sizes.
Top experiences to enjoy at Central Kalahari Game Reserve
The Kalahari Game Reserve lies off any semblance of a beaten track, which means it is rugged to the core. Enjoy plenty of opportunities to test your mettle as a self-drive 4×4 enthusiast and exceptional game viewing. Out here, it’s about unplugging and getting up close and personal with nature at her most stunningly primal. There is also the opportunity to experience safaris and walks with real Bushmen. Explore the bush on foot, while your guides teach you the hunting and survival skills, culture and crafts of the San people.
When to visit
The most popular time to visit the Kalahari Game Reserve is between January and April, when the rainy season has ended but there is still plenty of grass, which draws herbivores, which in turn draws the sought-after predators. The roads can still be a little muddy at this time, and you are bound to get stuck at least once or twice, so it’s recommended to travel in groups of at least two 4x4s. Not an extremely confident driver? Head over in dry season from April to October. Game may be more concentrated during the wet summers from November to March, but due to the untouched nature of the reserve you are still bound to encounter predators ranging from black-maned lions and cheetahs, to aardwolves and bat-eared foxes even during the dry season.