Taking up a vast section of central Botswana, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a harsh, sprawling wilderness dominated by flat grasslands that cover the white sands of the Kalahari desert. This is Botswana at its most mysterious and is most certainly a destination for the adventurous.
Game viewing here can appear challenging – there are no buffalo, no elephant, and what big game there is, is often hard to find. Days can be spent seeing very little in the way of wildlife – first-time visitors to Africa may question the park’s quality. However, if you’re looking for true wilderness, Kalahari is as good as it gets. To many people, this park is a magical place with sightings that are private, special and often unique. You will not be disturbed. Spend four to five days here, and you’ll have the chance to view the Kalahari’s lions, cheetahs and leopards. These sightings are few and far between, made even more special by their rarity. It takes a depth of understanding and patience and a genuine love of truly wild and remote places to appreciate Central Kalahari.
The reality is that Central Kalahari is a game reserve best kept for safari enthusiasts who have already had close encounters with Africa’s Big Five.
Where to stay in the Central Kalahari
The lack of accommodation options in the park has meant that much of the area remains virtually untouched by tourists. Many visitors prefer to explore the park while lodging outside its boundary. Recently, however, the Parks Board have permitted two camps within Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Kalahari Plains Camp and Tau Pan Camp. Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a unique destination requiring time to appreciate its attractions. It’s a great destination for old safari hands.
Time of year to travel
Working completely opposite to the remainder of Botswana, and sub-Saharan Africa for that matter, the central Kalahari comes into its peak season for game viewing at the beginning of the year. January through to May is the best time of year to be here with the largest herds found concentrating towards the north of the park, around the Piper Pans. Travel outside this period and you have really got to want to spend your days in complete solitude – you will need a great deal of patience if you are determined to travel between May and the end of the year!
Stick to the northern section of the park, specifically the area around Piper Pans. This is the most productive game-viewing area in the park. It is also one of the only places that we also encourage clients to consider staying outside the park.