The Kalahari Desert offer a wilderness like no other – a place where you can see the curvature of the earth and listen to the still small voice inside you.
The Central Kalahari Desert covers 80% of Botswana but it’s somewhat overlooked by many visitors. Yet it has its own breath-taking beauty, seemingly untouched by the modern world. At certain times, game-viewing can be amazing, though it is unpredictable depending on the rains. Rather, you come here to experience a wilderness like no other, a place where you can see the curvature of the earth and listen to the still small voice inside you.
The Kalahari desert is not a true desert, but rather an arid savanna wilderness. Despite its poor sandy soils, it sustains a rich diversity of wildlife adapted to the bone-dry conditions.
The Central Kalahari completely transforms after the rains as the plains and pans burst with sweet grasses. This attracts tens of thousands of springbok, gemsbok and wildebeest, giraffe and of course their predators – lion and cheetah. This is one of the best game viewing areas in Botswana at this time of year. Not many people know this, so visitors are few.
Brown hyenas and wild dogs are also found in the area. Honey badgers are regular visitors as well as meerkats. Many an hour can pass watching these fascinating animals.
Bird life is aplenty. The worlds heaviest flying bird – the Kori Bustard is a common sight as well as Ostriches and the Black Korhaan who continuously calls during the daytime. Raptors are also seen regularly – from the pale-chanting goshawk to the rock kestrel, bateleurs and brown and tawny eagles.
Mari JacobsAfrica Travel Specialist
Why you may love it
- The central Kalahari is the second largest game reserve in the world
- Predators abound with plentiful lions – especially the famous Kalahari black-maned lion, cheetah, leopard and black-backed jackals
- What is it about the Kalahari which is so attractive to people? We think it’s the sense of escape. Here life is lived as it always has been. There is clarity in its simplicity that speaks to people
- The San (Bushmen) people are one of the last great nomadic peoples of the world. Their hunting and tracking skills, to provide meat for their families in this harsh dry climate, are legendary
- Bird life is aplenty. The world’s heaviest flying bird – the Kori Bustard is a common sight as well as Ostriches and the Black Korhaan who continuously calls during the daytime
Explore the Central Kalahari map
When to visit Central Kalahari
Mid-December to March
Summer Rains bring sweet grasses
April to May
June to October
Dry season in the Kalahari
October to mid-December
Prior to the Summer Rains
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- CultureHome of the nomadic San (Bushmen) people
- Size52,000 km² - 2nd largest reserve in the world