highlights and main attractions of the central kalahari game reserve

Brilliantly remote and exclusive, Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the second largest wildlife reserve in the world, covering over 50,000 square kilometres, of which most is inaccessible. It is the sheer sense of desolate, pristine landscape and untouched isolation that gives it such appeal, and the area is only seen by only a handful of visitors every year, making it ideal for those looking for a very private and peaceful African safari experience.

Dominating the centre of Botswana, the area mostly consists of grass and bushland albeit with shallow river valleys and sand dunes, and is occasionally punctuated with larger trees, like Kalahari apple, acacia, silver terminalia sandveldt and mopane.

The Kalahari is home to the powerful and elusive black-maned lion.

Where is the Central Kalahari Game Reserve?

community, weather and expert tips

The history of the reserve is an interesting one, as it was originally established in 1961 to provide a protected sanctuary for the indigenous San community, who would be able to preserve their traditional hunter-gatherer culture without any human interruption. For around 30 years the reserve was completely inaccessible for tourists, however in the 1990s this changed to allow very small numbers to have access, although these numbers are kept strictly low to this day.

The arrival of the summer rains is known as a highlight of this area, and indeed one of Africa’s best kept wildlife secrets, both during and immediately after the rains. The northernmost sections of the reserve teem with wildlife activity, particularly around the Northern Deception Valley where herbivores such as gemsbok and springbok gather to feed off the sweet grasses, which in turn attracts large numbers of predators. Infamous black-maned lions, hyena, leopard, ostrich, giraffe and wildebeest are all found here.

Top Tip from our experts 

Engage in some fascinating conversations with the San Bushmen. Learn about their way of life and the different roles within their tribe. You will have plenty opportunities to ask all sorts of questions whether it’s to do with the way in which the men hunt or how their homes are looked after.

Exploring with the San Bushmen gives you a unique experience, and gives you excellent insight into the land.

This area has the highest number of camps and lodges, which provide access points to the main areas of interest. Jack’s Camp, for example, is set amidst palm trees in the heart of the Kalahari and offers prime wildlife viewing in hyena territory with access to Makgadikgadi and Nxai pans, whilst Tau Pan is a unique solar powered camp set in an area that is abundant with predators.

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