Article by discoverafrica
01 Oct' 2018

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the second largest reserve in the world and by far the most remote reserve in Southern Africa.

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve covers an area of 52000 square kilometres and it is home to rhino, black-maned lion and desert-adapted elephants among other striking game species.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve
 Central Kalahari Game Reserve

As a testament to the Central Kalahari’s old age, it is home to the San people, an ancient hunter-gatherer society that has transcended the ages with their excellent hunting skills and ability to adapt to the harsh environmental challenges presented by this enormous desert.

Vast Expanses and Roaming Wildlife

The size of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve makes spotting wildlife tricky, although many species tend to concentrate in the northern part of the park.

Deception Valley is highly recommended if you’re a wildlife enthusiast on the lookout for predators.

Springboks in Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Springboks in Central Kalahari Game Reserve 

Predators include the famous black-maned lions, spotted and brown hyena, sociable suricates as well as cheetah, wild dog and leopard, although rarely spotted.

Jackals, honey badgers, bat-eared foxes, the African wild cat, zebra and giraffe can also be spotted.

When Should you Go?

Unlike other Botswana safari destinations, January through to April is the best time to visit. During this rainy,  'green season' in Botswana, the beautiful interdune valley become lush with vegetation, attracting thousands of springboks and gemsbok (oryx), a good number of ostriches, herds of wildebeest as well as giraffe.

Male Shaft-tailed whydah in Central Kalahari
Male Shaft-tailed whydah in Central Kalahari 

The green season also indicates the calving season where hundreds of newborns come into the world during this period, making for some truly exciting predator-prey interaction and stellar photographic opportunities.

What Type of Traveller Would Enjoy the Central Kalahari Game Reserve?

The Kalahari wouldn’t be recommended for a first time safari-goer who wants to experience abundant wildlife in concentrated areas.

For this we would recommend the Kruger National Park on a South Africa safari, the Chobe National Park or Moremi Game Reserve in Northern Botswana.

Moremi Game Reserve
Moremi Game Reserve

Photographers, self-drive enthusiasts and even families will enjoy this peaceful destination. Birders will find the long list of species well worth a trip too.

Where to stay

We can recommend Deception Valley Lodge and the family-friendly Tau Pan Camp. Staying at these lodges will make wildlife sightings much easier with the experience of the highly trained field guides and trackers.

Walking safaris and cultural excursions to visit the local San inhabitants are also available, proving a memorable safari experience.

Botswana Self Drive Safari
Self-Drive Safari in Botswana 

Travel tips:

  • If you’re not comfortable with a self-drive safari into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, then a stay at either Duma Tau or Deception Valley Lodge will include a fly-in transfer, taking a lot of pressure off your trip.
  • If you relish the idea of a wilderness foray in your own vehicle, then allow us to advise you on the best vehicle hire to use and where to stock up on supplies. The reserve is immense, so it is essential to come prepared.

    DumaTau Camp,Africa
    Hippos at DumaTau Camp, Botswana

  • Never get out of our vehicle, except in designated areas. Even there, you’ll need to keep an eye out for dangerous wildlife.
  • It can be tedious getting a permit for the park, book your trip with us and we’ll organise everything for you.


I hope you enjoyed our short guide to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and that you might come for a visit and have an exhilarating Botswana safari that’s something a little different from the norm.


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