Central Kalahari Game Reserve

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve was established in 1961 and covering around 50,000 km² it makes up roughly 10% of Botswana. The reserve consists of a series of salt pans and dry river valleys, as well as vast expanses of semi-arid grasslands and Kalahari bushlands. This is a true wilderness area, only some of which can be accessed by visitors even with a 4×4, making a tailor-made Central Kalahari safari a real adventure.

About the Central Kalahari

The San people have called this area home for thousands of years, and today the world’s last hunting bushmen are found here. Their lifestyles have adapted to meet seemingly impossible conditions, and gaining an insight into this unique culture during a safari in the Central Kalahari is a highly rewarding experience. Despite being called a reserve the area does have the protection of a national park, and rather uniquely, activities such as bush walks and night drives in the Central Kalahari are still permitted.


Central Kalahari Wildlife Safaris

With such an abundance of space, predators claim huge territories, far greater than in almost any other area of Africa. The Central Kalahari is renowned for its black-maned lions and there are approximately 500 individuals within the reserve. There is little competition for space and cheetahs prosper, the uninterrupted flats being ideal hunting ground for them. Leopards are found in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve but sightings of them are not as frequent as other cats. 

Springbok, oryx, red hartebeest, kudu and eland are among the few grazing species hardy enough to survive in such tough conditions, and large numbers of giraffe are present too. The reserve is also renowned as being the best place to see meerkats in Africa, and large concentrations of these inquisitive creatures are found here. 

Activities in the Central Kalahari revolve around day and night game drives, walking safaris and mobile camping adventures. Specialist birding holidays in the Central Kalahari are also popular, as is the Bushman experience, where visitors can learn traditional tracking and hunting techniques. Stargazing in the Central Kalahari is superb as there is no light pollution here, and many guests love sleeping out in a star bed under the twinkling night sky. 

Birding in the Central Kalahari 

The recorded number of bird species in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve exceeds 250, with raptors such as martial eagles and black-chested snake eagles being particular highlights. 

The Central Kalahari has a good population of large land birds too, with kori bustards, secretary birds and ostriches all commonly sighted. The transformation of plumage by the whydah in the wet season is a true birding spectacle of the Central Kalahari.

Best Places to Stay in the Central Kalahari

There are a number of excellent camps and lodges of a varying standards that lie just outside the borders of the park. Two excellent luxury safari camps are also located within the park’s borders. 

Hand-picked Camps and Lodges

Talk with one of our experts today to discuss the best options for you.


Best Time to Visit the Central Kalahari

Unlike other parts of Botswana, the Central Kalahari is at its best for game viewing during the wet season between December and March. However, the rains often make travel within the reserve quite difficult. As rainfall subsides from the end of March to May, animal concentrations are very good and travel is often easier.

Weather During the Year


How to Book a Central Kalahari Safari Holiday

To discuss your Botswana safari holiday, Central Kalahari safari packages and tailor-made itineraries, speak to one of our Botswana experts today by contacting us.