For peace, solitude and freedom, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is inspirational. Well off the beaten track, this remote park has remained isolated from tourist routes for many decades, its solitude ensured by a lack of available fuel and water.
Game Viewing and Activities
Game is scarcer than parks further north, but the CKGR has a unique beauty. Flat mineral rich pans and fossil rivers sustain the life here – this is where most of the game drive routes are. The local wildlife has adapted to the dry conditions and uses the surrounding vegetation for water needs. Predators are attracted to the pans where springbok, oryx, hartebeest (not so common) and wildebeest graze on the sweet grasses. Cheetah, leopard, wild dog and massive black-manned Kalahari Lions can be seen hunting on the open plains. Most visitors are usually surprised by the amount of life in this desert ecosystem, however, one has to be patient for the park to reveal its secrets – the predators have huge territories and so traverse vast areas, making them a challenge to find. However, several waterholes dot the park, and in the hot dry season, this makes for some amazing “sit-and-wait” game viewing. Having said this, none of the animals really have to drink.
Most people, come to this park to see the “Kalahari lions.” These lions are known to walk right into the campsites on a regular basis – not to attack, but rather out of curiosity. Leopards sometimes do the same!
Imagine living here – as the bushmen do. There are options of walks with local bushmen to learn about their former way of life – this would be done at lodges on the periphery of the park . Otherwise, activities are focused around game drives (no night drives are allowed).
Star viewing here is at its best because of the clear air and flat horizon. We offer specialist star guides with professional telescopes for those more interested in this aspect of nature.
The Kalahari “Seasons”
The park is exceptional all year, but rains (typically November to March) prompt an explosion of life – this may be the best time to visit, however the park is productive all year! The Kalahari is exceptionally hot between September and October. It will cool down once the rains arrive in November, however, the rains may never come – it is a desert!
We have access to private campsites in most of the core areas of the park. Deception Valley is probably the best location to base the private mobile camp – Sunday Pan, Leopard pan, Lethiahau waterhole and even the Passarge Valley can be accessed using Deception Valley as a base.
For those that wish to stay for an extended period in the park, do inquire about camping at Piper Pan.
We recommend a minimum stay of 3 nights as getting to the park takes a whole day of driving. However, week long stays are possible and recommended. The CKGR can be combined with virtually any other park, provided we have a logistical stop in Maun or a lodge beforehand. We recommend Meno a Kwena Camp as an excellent option as a “pre” or “post” Kalahari stop.
- See the black–manned Kalahari lions
- Solitude and vast open spaces to enjoy – sometimes not seeing other park visitors for days
- Experience the bushman culture
- Learn about desert adapted animals
- Glimpse the elusive Brown hyena and find their scent marks
- probably the best location for cheetah viewing in Botswana