Central Kalahari Game Reserve
A vast thirst land with hidden life

Best Central Kalahari Game Reserve Experiences

  • Spend your nights under open skies, picking out patterns in the milky way
  • Watch the desert come alive in green season as grasses grow and big cats enjoy easy hunting
  • Search the open landscape for the giant tracks of black-maned Kalahari lions
  • Game drive for the whole day in the open desert without seeing another soul
  • Cross your fingers and toes for a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of a brown hyena
  • Spot the less-famous stars of safari, from aardvarks to honey badgers and bat-eared foxes

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is one of the most remote and pristine areas in Africa. This is not your stereotypical desert filled with lofty sand dunes - instead you'll find vast open skies and a desolate landscape which comes alive with the rains. Best of all, you'll have it completely to yourself.

If there's anywhere to be left wondering whether you're the last person on earth, this is it. People come to the Kalahari for its incomprehensible vastness. Whether it's the waist-high grasses stretching on forever or the wide open skies that drop down to meet them - everything here feels endless.

Just staring at the harsh landscape will convince you that no-one could survive out here, until you meet one of the San people who've been doing exactly that for thousands of years. Take a walk with one of these hunter-gatherers and discover where the hidden tools for survival are buried in the desert.

Explore Deception Valley's ancient fossil riverbed from one of only two lodges inside the reserve, or from a nearby game farm with access. To really immerse yourself in the Kalahari, we recommend getting back to basics on a mobile safari with a guide who can reveal the complexities of the desert.

In winter months the Kalahari offers long days of exploration in search of solitary cheetahs and evenings under starlit skies so bright, you won't need a lantern. When the summer rains arrive they bring with them thousands of grazing animals and the predators that follow. The landscape becomes transformed with wild flowers and lush green grasses where you can watch the thunderstorms roll in from miles away.

The Central Kalahari is not for your first-time safari in search of big game, but a true adventure for unforgettable encounters off the beaten track. Chat to us and we'll tell you when the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is at its greenest and game viewing is at its best.

Combine with: A water camp in the Okavango Delta - especially during green season for spectacular birding, Khwai for year-round game viewing to compliment the Kalahari in any month and Savute for the big herds of elephants that are missing in the Kalahari.

Lion in the Kalahari

Spot the wildlife Special Wildlife to Spot

The iconic black-maned Kalahari lion, as impressive by his footprints as in person

All the birds from the giant ostriches, kori bustards and secretary birds to the abundant birds of prey

Our favourite camps

Best Value: Tau Pan Camp

Best Value: Tau Pan Camp

Central Kalahari

Escape the world and explore a remote corner of the Kalahari Desert from the comfortable base of Tau Pan Camp. Experience the harsh beauty of the Kalahari in winter or travel during summer's rainy season to catch herds of springbok and oryx, as well as the thunderstorms rolling in across the open expanse.

Family Friendly: Camp Kalahari

Family Friendly: Grassland Bushman Lodge

Central Kalahari

Run by a family, for families, this is the kind of place you'll wish you visited as a child. Base yourself in the comfortable farm setting and let the San bushmen share their rich culture as you explore the Kalahari Desert by safari vehicle, horseback or on foot.

Iconic: Camping in Deception Valley with a Private Guide

Iconic: Camping in Deception Valley with a Private Guide

Central Kalahari

Camping on a private mobile safari with Botswana's most experienced guides will get you the most from the Central Kalahari. It may cost a bit more, but it's worth it. Our favourites include Brent and Grant Reed - well-known birding and reptile specialists; Des Pretorius - one of the most experienced photographic guides or Johnny Ramsden and Thuto Moutloatse who know the Kalahari like the back of their hands. If you've got cash to burn then Roger Dugmore's your man, a real safari character with spades of knowledge providing an old-school bush adventure.

Out of the Ordinary: Letaka Safaris' Blooming Desert Mobile Safari

Out of the Ordinary: Letaka Safaris' Blooming Desert Mobile Safari

Central Kalahari

This small group safari led by Letaka Safaris' highly-qualified guides explores the Central Kalahari when it comes alive during the green season. Departures are only once a year and offer so much more than a standard lodge with access to remote areas and a complete immersion in the vast magnificence of the desert.

Most Romantic: Kalahari Plains Camp

Most Romantic: Kalahari Plains Camp

Central Kalahari

Huge gauze windows and a sleep-out deck on the roof of your tent offer clear views across the open pan. You'll feel part of the environment and immensity of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The lush green season attracts massive herds of springbok and oryx in contrast to harsher dry winters spent searching for a lone cheetah or magnificent black-maned Kalahari lion.

Splurge: Africa Private Mobile Safari

Splurge: Capture Africa Private Mobile Safari

Central Kalahari

Capture Africa provides little luxuries to exceed your expectations while glamping in the Central Kalahari. En-suite meru tents are set up in the middle of nowhere with comfy beds and creative touches from your own private library to bedside lamps made from kudu horns. Top off the experience with expert guiding, fantastic food and vast horizons where you're unlikely to see another soul.

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