Stretching from the Northern part of South Africa, through Namibia and Angola, up to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Kalahari is the largest sand basin in the world. Covering the centre of Botswana, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, has only recently been opened to the public and is recommended only for those who are well-organized self-sufficient groups of adventurers who can confront the remoteness, wilderness, harsh terrain and unforgiving climate. The reward is worth the game! Although called a desert, the Kalahari is covered with a wide variety of habitats: sand dunes with many species of trees in the North, flat bushveld in the central area, mophane forests to the south and east, wide grasslands in vast open plains, acacia trees forrests, saltpans and ancient riverbeds…
The main wildlife concentrations are to be found in the northern part of the reserve. In essence the desert truly comes to life when the summer rains (December to April) transform the area into green grasslands in the North: when a spectacular migration then takes place. Giraffe, wild dog, leopoard, lion, brown hyena, cheetah, warthog, a wide variety of antelope, kudu and springbok, among others, can be viewed. Travellers will also enjoy fascinating reptiles, scorpions and insects, magnificent skies at days (with impressive cloud formations during the summer rainstorms) and nights (spectacular starry skies), and the great spectacle of the Deception Valley – a 80km long ancient riverbed where mirages take place. There is also a large diversty of bird life and a number of endangered species.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve was originally designed to provide a homeland for the San Bushmen, a people of nomadic hunters and gatherers who inhabited the area for the past 30,000 years. Most of them now mixed with other local tribes and live in villages or settlements in the Southern part of the reserve, and often work as guides in the desert.
Unlike in other safari locations, the rainy season (November to March) or its latest months (February to April) are the best time to visit, while the dry season (May to October) is hot, dry and dusty – few animals are to be seen under these harch conditions.