Ranging over 900,000km2, the Kalahari Desert extends over three countries, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, with the majority being located in the very heart of Botswana. We’ve included a few of our favourite lodges in different regions below.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana is characterised by expansive, golden open plains, vast salt pans and winding riverbeds. Ancient fossil rivers wind their way through this arid reserve, the most famous - Deception Valley, a timeworn watercourse that carved its way through the Northern Kalahari over 16,000 years ago. Today this area is a fantastic game-rich reserve. At over 52 800 square kilometers, this diverse reserve is not only the largest and most remote wildlife reserve in Southern Africa, but is also the second largest wildlife reserve in the world.
What makes this reserve truly unique is that back in 1961, the park was originally established to serve as a place of sanctuary for the San tribes. Ensuring their traditional way of life was not interrupted by modern man.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve supports an array of life in its varying ecosystems. Many species here are not water-dependent and rely on getting their moisture from fauna such as melons and bulbs that are typical in the Kalahari.
During the dry season the wildlife can be scattered in their search for food and water, however in the emerald summer all life starts to congregate in the lush green valleys such as Deception Valley.
Many varying species can be found roaming the reserve from the iconic blacked-maned lions, desert elephants, meerkats, cheetah, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, ostrich, oryx, kudu, hyena, African wild cats, bat-eared foxes and honey badgers.
Leopard, brown hyena and African wild dogs are also present but are relativity hard to spot. The birdlife of the Kahalari is abundant and varied, with many species soaring the skies or fluttering through the desert fauna.
A few species to look our for include; tawny eagles, lilac breasted rollers, secretary birds, shaft-tailed whydahs, African jacanas and of course the white-backed vulture.
Where & when to go
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is not only the largest game reserve in Botswana, it’s also the most remote and wild. Easy to experience if you have knowledge of the park and a well equipped vehicle, especially at times when animals congregate around pans. You should try to include some of these pans in your visit;
• Deception pan • Tsau pan • Leopard pan • Sunday pan • Passage pan • Motopi pan • Piper pan • Phukwe pan
There are two distinct seasons in the Kalahari. The dry season runs from April – October and the wet season starts from November and goes through to March.
The best time to visit the Central Kahalari is between April and September. Prices for lodges will be expensive during the peak months which are November, followed by March and September. However, the best game viewing months are from December to March as a vast array of species tend to congregate around the remaining water sources close in the vicinity of Deception Valley.
Our favourite camps
Tswalu, The Motse
Accommodation; 6 suites for 2 pax, 3 family suites for 4 pax.
Room type; Double or twin beds (guests can choose). Aircon & fan. Fireplace. Wifi.