Central Kalahari National Park

The Kalahari is the largest sand basin in the world, stretching 1,560 miles (2,500km) from the northern part of South Africa, through Namibia and Angola and ending in the DRC (Congo). With no permanent surface water the Kalahari is well vegetated with a wide variety of habitats including acacia trees and areas of flat grasslands. It’s a wondrous place where magnificent cloud formations appear during the summer rains and where thousands of grazing animals on the grass plains of northern CKGR from February to April. This desert is where fascinating reptiles, scorpions and insects go about their lives entwined in the daily ritual of life and death, where the stunning starry nights offer spectacular proportions of grandeur and colour.

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is the largest game reserve in the world. Its remoteness, unforgiving climate and harsh terrain have kept it pristine and only those that are willing to explore unknown territory venture into the ceaseless desert hinterland. Those that do are rewarded with untamed Africa at its best.

The CKGR was originally created as a refuge for the San Bushmen – the inhabitants of the Kalahari for the past 30,000 years. They live in nomadic hunter-gatherer family groups only taking what they needed to survive – which is an art form in the Kalahari. Most have now intermixed with other tribes such as the Bakgalagadi, and live in villages at the southern end of this reserve.

Animals and Birds

After the summer rains arrive in the northern section of CKGR, from Deception Valley to Piper Pans, the vast plains burst with sweet grasses and it becomes one of the prime game-viewing areas in Botswana. From nowhere thousands of gemsbok, springbok and wildebeest, with plentiful lion, cheetah and jackal in attendance enter the scene. This gathering is compared by many with the Serengeti migrations. The living desert comes into play with the call of the Black korhaan being replaced at night by the continuous cough of the male barking gecko.


Rainy season: Summer rains are expected to fall on northern CKGR between November and March, but as rainfall is erratic this is by no means certain. Rainstorms are frequent but fast and roads can become very muddy and a fully equipped 4×4 vehicle is essential.

Dry season: May to October is hot, dry and dusty in the Kalahari with little water and limited animals. October is the hottest month.


  • CKGR is the largest game reserve in Botswana covering 32 808 square miles (52,800 square kilometres).
  • It is located right in the centre of Botswana
  • This is a malarial area
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