Originally only home to the Bushman, or San people, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve has recently become a place that can be visited by wildlife enthusiasts like us. With a unique climate and landscape, it is a game reserve like no other in Botswana or, in fact, the whole of Africa.
As this game reserve’s name suggests, it is found within the Kalahari Desert, in Botswana, and is a very large national park. Covering a little over 50,000 square kilometres it is measured as the second largest game reserve in the world. It is also one of the more remote game reserves in Africa, and is therefore perfect for anyone seeking a rare and very real safari adventure.
Although you may only imagine a huge, sandy area with no water when you think of a desert, the Kalahari is actually a great expanse of golden grasses, scrub bushes and dwarfed trees. Its number of varied habitats, including ancient riverbeds, acacia tree forests, mophane forests, open plains, flat bushveld and saltpans, make it a very interesting place to explore in search of wildlife. The pans are wide and empty, and huge flat surfaces of white that seem to stretch out until they meet with the sky on the far side. This, together with the occasional sand dunes, shallow fossil river valleys, silvery sandveldt and various other unique characteristics of the Kalahari, always seems to mesmerise first-time visitors.
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The Unique Experience of the Reserve!
Unlike many other safari destinations, where you are recommended to visit during the dry season, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is best during the area’s summer rainfall period, in the first few months and last few months of the year. At this time the grasslands are teeming with wildlife, all gathering to find the best grazing and some water. You will certainly enjoy seeing large herds of springbok, gemsbok, eland and hartebeest. Wildebeest, giraffe and many other animals will be nearby as well. Animals that many people like to look for whilst on safari include the Cape wild dog, African leopard, brown hyena, lion and cheetah.
Although the larger animals are thrilling to view, you may be surprised at how interesting the smaller creatures can be as well. A fascinating number of reptiles, scorpions and insects exist in the Kalahari and are very amusing to study. One of the most enticing areas to visit in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the Northern Deception Valley. Deception Valley is an ancient riverbed, approximately 80km in length, and often where mirages can be seen. It is probably the most travelled part of the desert not only for its interesting landscape, but for its large diversity of birdlife and herbivores as well, particularly during and after the rains have fallen. Predators, of course, will be someone close by seeking out their next meal.