User Reviews – Central Kalahari GR
Email Ian | 65+ years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
For what we wanted to see we had to go in the rainy season, but this season was really wet.
The journey to the Central Kalahari is quite long with around 45 miles on metaled roads followed by a similar distance on a dead straight, sandy track. Once at the Northern gate, the remainder of the journey is a game drive to wherever the camp has been pitched. We were located mainly in an area known as Deception Valley and recent sightings there had been very encouraging. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is huge, so we were only going to experience a small fraction of it
Our previous safaris had all taken place in what I would describe as typical bush, even when we were in the Okavango Delta. But the wide-open plains of the Kalahari were a welcome change and immediately we could see our hoped-for sightings were a distinct possibility. The game drive section gave us a number of excellent bird sightings, but as we got into the Deception Valley area there were Springbok, Black-backed Jackal and three male Lions that we were to get to know quite well in our 4 night stay.
The opening day was mainly a bird sighting day and what was immediately noticeable was the number of Pale Chanting Goshawks about. Another fascinating discovery was that the juveniles are very confiding, but the adults will fly before the vehicle has even come to a halt. Aside from the birds we had some delightful encounters with Ground Squirrels doing their Meerkat impersonations, young male Springbok play-fighting and huge herds of Oryx (Gemsbok) the like of which we’d never seen before. The day ended when we encountered three Bat-eared Foxes in the middle of a track, but in fading light. The length of the grass due to all the rain gave them plenty of cover and they are very nervous anyway, so mainly all we saw were ears.
Day Two was to yield Hartebeest, a charming Scrub Hare and the one thing I wanted to see, Cheetahs. Not only did I see Cheetahs, I finally got to witness a Cheetah successfully hunting and see for myself the stunning acceleration these cats can generate. This probably was the highlight of the trip for me, but there were other encounters that came exceptionally close. We also witnessed the amusing sight of a Clapper Lark. These birds take off vertically with a sound not dissimilar to the drumming of a Snipe, but then issue a whistle as they dive back to the ground.
Our final full day in the reserve was by far the best and gave us memorable sightings of three male Lions. They are three brothers aged around 30 months and have yet to grow manes. They were a joy to be with as they play fought with each other in the early morning, but our evening encounter with them was more memorable. The sight of all three trying to climb a tree in failing light was one to behold and tested our photographic skills to the limit.
Before that we had seen the same Cheetah with her two cubs as the previous evening and this time had made two further kills. One was left for the Jackals, to distract them from the main kill, which was being gradually eaten by the cubs. The nearby trees began to fill with Vultures, while they waited for their turn to come in and clear up the remains.
Moving back to pick up the Lions again we found a tower of 30 Giraffe in an open area, all very relaxed and a couple of the younger males practicing their sparring on each other. Approaching this location we were very fortunate to spot an African Wild Cat in the undergrowth. In truth, they look like a longer-legged version of a domestic tabby we are used to, but seeing such a secretive animal was a bonus.
Email GoingPlaceswithME | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Excellent safari destination with sufficient tourism infrastructure
CKGR = real backcountry Botswana
March wasn't the best time to go for wildlife viewing, or at least this time around due to recent rains and the high grass. We made the trek from the north all the way down and through Kutse. It's a very long way, and some hairy 4x4 off-roading. Not sure I'd make that trip again, but certainly portions of the park are worth seeing and experiencing, including camping at one of the many backcountry campsites.
Email GaryGamso | 65+ years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
I found the reserve vast and full of Africa's predators, plus their game.
We enjoyed a mobile safari, camping among the animals. Our guide, Moses Ntema provided safe accommodations, hosted enjoyable evenings with specially prepared dinners, located lots of game and the predators who stalk them, and educated us on behaviors of lions, cheetah, and leopard. We spent hours sitting among lion prides, following leopards through the bush, or watching the cheetah lounge beneath shade trees in the Central Kalahari plains.
Email Iain in Pagham | 65+ years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
We had three nights in the Kalahari and loved the range of animal and birdlife we saw. We stayed in Tau Pan which was excellent - food, accommodation and guides all first class. One highlight was th ebushamn's walk where we saw him making a fire from two sticks (!), Making animal traps, finding ways of getting drinking liquids and getting a soap solution to wash in - all from shrubs or roots. Kalahari itself - three nights was enough for us, we had seen pretty much what was around, the scenery was less varied than other areas (naturally as it's a desert scrub). We could have gone on a long day out but were warned that was more of the same. I wouldn't have missed going there especially for the excellent camp, the birds and animals but I' wouldn't go back again.
50-65 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Surprisingly colorful for a "desert". Good wildlife numbers and loads of birds. Deception Valley is a worthwhile place to see.
Email Dee Lange | 65+ years of age | Experience level: first safari
Vast,remote undisturbed plains, a real safari experience.
The wildlife was totally amazing, i came expecting nothing and saw it all. I loved the non tourist atmosphere, we only saw the jeeps from our camp it was a real adventure. We landed on a dirt airstrip where we were met by our safari jeep, our camp was fabulous with a small pool and views over the Kalahari where you could see lions roaming. The food was good considering how remote we were. Our guides and staff were amazing and so friendly. you could sleep under the stars on top of your canvas safari unit if you wished. I was 69 when i took this trip and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
The blooming desert filled with wildlife
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is an incredible safari destination during the emerald season (rainy season), when the desert provides lots of vegetation due to the frequent daily thunderstorms. It really is much more of a semi-arid area than a desert, with expansive grasslands and savannah, in which the wildlife roams, hides and hunts. The scenery is breathtaking, the wildlife abundant. I had a particular interest in birds during my trip to Botswana and knew that many migratory birds escaping the cold European winter can be found in sub-saharan Africa. I was absolutely astounded by the numbers of Storks of various kinds in the Kalahari Game Reserve. Hundreds of them were flying high up in the air in kettle formation, or satiating themselves in the grassland and water holes. The amount of mammal species was great as well and their behavior wonderful to observe from the Land Cruiser. Since there is more vegetation during the emerald (rainy, summer) season, the wildlife might be a little more difficult to spot than during Botswana's winter. But a good guide can make up for that and enable you to observe some very interesting hunting and eating behavior.
The scenery was beautiful due to the vegetation and blooms. We experienced rain in the afternoon once in four days, but I understand that it can rain daily. Since our Land Cruisers had a sun/rain roof and very comfortable ponchos, we really were not affected at all by the rain. The temperature was very hot during the middle of the day, but all game drives took place either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The hottest time was siesta time at camp. In the Central Kalahari Game Reserve night drives are not permitted and all vehicles have to be back at camp when it gets dark.
We stayed at the Kalahari Plains Camp, which was a nice basic camp with really delicious food. The "tents" were clean and comfortable, the shower only salt water, with one fresh water faucet at the bathroom sink.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve was our first of three camps in Botswana, and definitely a great introduction to the country.
Mornings in the Kalahari are spectacular... my favorite !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was everything we imagined about the Kalahari Desert - wildlife everywhere and intense heat!
This was an amazing place so full of contradictions. It looked like there wouldn't be too much wildlife supported in the desert-like area, but animals were everywhere! There were no rhinos, hippos or buffalo because of the arid environment, but plenty of lions and cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, gemsbok, springbok, zebras, snakes, and so many birds! Kwando Safaris gave us a top notch experience with excellent food, bush walks with San Bushmen, game drives and beautiful accommodations looking out at the waterhole. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about any questions we had, and our tracker was a San who did an interesting bush walk and was able to identify and locate everything for us. The birds were particularly impressive with their variety and beauty, and the insects were the biggest we've ever seen. We saw lions mating and cheetahs on the hunt. Kwando Safaris is environmentally friendly with all their power from solar energy. They had no internet, no cell coverage, no radio, no tv, but did have power points where we could charge our computers and cameras. There is no air conditioning, but with the thatch-roofed huts and the ceiling fan, we were able to stay reasonably cool during the 110F heat of the day. We weren't expecting such attention from the staff and were treated like royalty. I'd recommend Kwando Safaris and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to anyone. It provided us with a lifetime of memories to cherish.