Overview – Central Kalahari GR
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is Botswana’s biggest reserve and is situated in the middle of the Kalahari Desert. This is pure, untrammeled wilderness. The inhospitable desert habitat doesn’t support the wide variety of safari animals found in greener destinations – but sightings in this arid landscape are special.
Pros and Cons
- Adventurous wilderness destination
- Off-the-beaten-track and little visited
- Stunning desert scenery
- Chance to see striking Kalahari black-maned lions
- Very little accommodation in and outside the park
- Self-drive visitors exploring the interior of the park need to be totally self-sufficient
- Limited animal species
- It is very hot and dry
- Limited tracks inside the park
Big herds of desert-adapted antelope, such as springbok and oryx, can be seen walking along the dunes. Predators are easy to spot on the plains. The Kalahari black-maned lions are particularly stunning, and cheetah thrive in this open country. Lucky visitors might even come across a pack of wild dogs or a solitary honey badger.
The scenery can be monotonous but the endless horizons – as the sun gets low in the sky and afternoon colors soften – are mesmerizing. The landscape is a mix of straggly bushes, including the desert-adapted silver terminalia, patches of acacias, pans and fossil riverways interspersed with dunes. In the Wet season, the inter-dune valleys transform to green.
Weather & Climate
The desert climate of the Central Kalahari is at its most testing in the Dry season (April to October), with average daytime temperatures peaking at 33°C/91°F. The only exception is early in the morning, when you’ll need to rug up against the chill if you’re doing a game drive. The Wet season (November to March) cools things down with its intermittent showers.
Best Time to Visit
For prime wildlife viewing and fewer crowds, you should avoid the driest times of year and visit in the Wet season (November to March). Besides the low-season prices, this is also when animals make the most of the returning rain by gathering around the pans in Deception Valley. The trade-off is that some roads can turn into muddy bogs.
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Kalahari Safari Reviews
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- Bush Vibe
- User Rating
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Most Helpful Expert Review
Paul is a travel writer, author of the Bradt guidebook to Zimbabwe and is closely involved in promoting tourism to Zimbabwe.
Wild and Wonderful
This reserve, the second largest in the world, is the ultimate get-away-from-it-all, wilderness destination. It is of course, desert so if you visit in the extremely arid dry season you’ll see vast expanses of sand, dunes, dry river beds...
Latest User Review
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...