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Located In the middle of the Kalahari desert, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is Botswana’s largest reserve. With its scrub-covered fossil dunes and never-ending horizons, the reserve offers some of the best summer wildlife sightings in Africa. The reserve’s vast area is home to a fascinating variety of flora and fauna, both coming to life during the wet season. Some of the notable animals and birds at the game reserve include the Kalahari black-maned lion, blue wildebeest, black bustard, and red-billed francolin.
Due to its vastness and desert-like landscape, it may seem monotonous, but conversely, it is one of the most beautiful sights as the sun lowers in the sky. The natural appeal of the reserve is amplified when it rains and, hordes of animals gather around the pan in Deception Valley, turning it into the best wildlife viewing. With the option of camping in the heart of the reserve with camps like Kwando tau pan camp, an experience at the game reserve is one that will capture your heart and album.
Location: Central Botswana
Nearest International Airport: Maun
How to reach: By road or chartered flight from Maun
Famous for: Stark Kalahari landscapes, wildlife
Best time to visit: Jan to Dec
Mammals: Blue wildebeest, Oryx, Springbok, Black-maned Kalahari Lion, Spotted Hyena, Yellow Mongoose, Bat-eared Fox, Cheetah, Eland, Red Hartebeest, Greater Kudu, and more
Birds: Black Bustard, Ostrich, Black-shouldered Kite, Red-billed Francolin, Martial Eagle, Chat Flycatcher, Common Kestrel, Namaqua Dove, and more
Situated in the middle of a desert, the terrain at CKGR is a vast flat expanse of scraggly bushes scattered among dunes. The landscape may feel monotonous due to the endless horizons and desert plants. However, when afternoon colors soften as the sun dips in the sky, the horizon is a sight to see. The dried landscape of the Kalahari game reserve comes alive during the wet season as inter-dune valleys turn green.
The reserve is home to around 250 bird species and a variety of animals that comprise herbivores and predators. Some of the most common mammals that visitors can see here are wildebeest, oryx, springbok, and hyena. The reserve has ground-dwelling birds like ostrich, secretary bird, and kori bustard along with birds like flycatchers and doves. While visitors can view the animals and birds throughout the year, wetter months from November to April are the best times to spot them.
Visitors have two options for accommodation when visiting the game reserve– lodges and camps. The Dinka lodge is a sought-after choice for those looking for home comforts and privacy in the heart of Botswana. With three categories of tented accommodations, the haina safari lodge is yet another option for those wanting an exquisite experience. Overlooking the Tau Pan lake, Kwando’s tau pan camp offers an incredible experience with its view of the ridge of an ancient sand dune and thatched units. It is a great choice for those wishing to camp within the reserve area.