Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is a national park in the Kalahari Desert, situated in the center of Botswana. It was established in 1961 because Bushmen survival was such an important issue and it was formed as their homeland. It is 52,800km² in size, and is the 2nd largest game reserve in the world.
The land is characterized by mostly flat, open plains; salt pans; and ancient river beds with grasses covering the sand dunes. Many species of trees and shrubs grow in the north, and the central region is a flat bushveld area. Mopane forests dominate in the south and east. Peculiar to this area are the fossil river valleys that contain numerous salt pans. Four of these fossil rivers meander through the reserve including into Deception Valley, in which the pan of the same name began to form around 16,000 years ago. The name ‘Deception’ is derived from the dry surface of a pan, from which a mirage sometimes makes it appear convincingly full of water, until one gets (disappointed) right to the edge. Rainfall is sparse and intermittent, consistent with a desert environment.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is a national park in the Kalahari Desert, situated in the center of Botswana, south of Maun and the Okavango Delta.
The CKGR becomes one of Botswana’s prime-time game viewing destinations after the summer rains and is famous for the Kalahari black-maned lion. The northern region from Deception Valley to Piper Pans is dominated by huge plains of sweet grasses that attract thousands of oryx, springbok and wildebeest. Predators such as lion, cheetah and jackal follow in anticipation of finding their next meal. Giraffe, brown hyena, warthog, leopard, eland, oryx, kudu, red hartebeest can be observed between December and April, when the animals tend to congregate at the pans and in valleys.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve can be included as part of any itinerary. To learn more about our itineraries, click on one of the sample itinerary links below:
Of course, we also create custom Botswana itineraries so you can create your own trip that best meets your needs.
Best Times to Go
The Green Season (January – March) is the prime time for wildlife in the Kalahari Desert. Unlike virtually all other safari areas where the rains disperse wildlife, in the Kalahari the rains lead to an eruption of rich grasses combined with surface water to drink a multitude of animals parade into the desert parks.
Below are some of the accommodations we recommend for the Central Kalahari area. Click a link below for more information.