Central Kalahari Game Reserve (referred to as CKGR) is the second largest reserve in the world and by far the most remote reserve in southern Africa. The CKGR covers an area of 52000 square kilometres and it is home to the largest animal population, including rhino, black-maned lion and desert-adapted elephants and is the original home of the San poeple, an ancient hunter-gatherer society that have transcended the ages with their excellent hunting skills and ability to adapt to the harsh environmental challenges presented by this enormous desert.
Central Kalahari is not for your first-time safari in search of big game. It is great for the experienced safari-goer. A great self-drive adventure, or an oasis However, CKGR has no seasons. Instead, there are three distinct phases: the rains - which may commence anytime from November to January, and last through to March, April - making the Kalahari a birder’s paradise. However, a cold dry spell follows from June to August as well as the hot dry spell lasts from September until the rains start.
When is the best time to visit
Unlike other safari destination, January through to April is the best time to visit. During this 'green season' in Botswana, the beautiful interdune valley become lush with vegetation, attracting thousands of springboks and gemsbok. You’ll also find a good number of ostrich and giraffe, herd of wildebeest, cheetah and the Kalahari’s famous black-maned lions. Leopards and brown hyena are common residents too, though they are a rare sight.
What to see
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The main wildlife concentration are to be found in the northern part of the reserve. Expect to see giraffe, wild dogs, leopards, lion, brown hyena, warthog, a wide variety of antelope, kudu and springbok and more. However, travellers will also see fascinating reptiles, scorpions and insects.
Where to stay
Dinaka Safari Lodge
Dinaka Safari Lodge is able to provide you with the real home comforts without losing its authentic bush atmosphere.
Each tented chalet nestles under the branches of the Purple Pod trees, blending in with the natural surroundings. Two of the seven tents are suitable for families. Each tented chalet has a covered veranda overlooking the waterhole.
Deception Valley Lodge
Deception Valley Lodge is situated in a private concession on the border of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The lodge offers an authentic African theme - while the surrounding area offers excellent wildlife sightings.
Enjoy guided walks with the Bushmen to learn about their culture and hunting techniques, and about the unique flora and fauna of the area. Head out on day or night game drives, occasionally going off-road to follow tracks. Alternatively, sit back and relax with sundowners while admiring the flaming sunsets and star-filled sky.
Tau Pan Camp
Tau Pan Camp in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a modern and sophisticated camp made up of airy verandas, al fresco showers and private viewing decks; the perfect vantage place from which to enjoy the a dusky desert sunset. As the base for a safari of wonder, Tau Pan is known for its delicious food and panoramic scenery.
Your days at Tau Pan Camp will include dusk and dawn game drives into the wilderness where you will see desert lions, leopard and plains game. Discover the secrets of the bush on a slow and comfortable walking safari and meet the local San people who have occupied this area of Africa since time immemorial. Tau Pan camp is about a return to nature, yet with all the luxuries of modern life.
What to do
There are so many activities to explore at the CKGR. Enjoy game drives, Bushman interaction that will give you the opportunity for cultural interaction in the village and learn a little bit more about this fascinating culture. Nature walks in the Kalahari are generally accompanied by Bushmen trackers who enhance the experience with their incredible knowledge of the area and its life.
Night drives outside the park are done on some of the private areas outside the game reserve boundaries - providing a unique look at the nocturnal creatures of the Kalahari. Explore Botswana’s green season safari that will give you the opportunity to participate in all of the above-listed activities.