Covering almost two thirds of Botswana, the sprawling Kalahari Desert is a unique wilderness of dry grassland and acacia forests. While the terrain can be difficult and seemingly inhospitable, the area supports a diverse range of wildlife and flora. After the summer rains the land completely transforms as the blue sky fills with huge clouds, and the plains and pans burst with sweet grasses.
This is one of the best game-viewing areas in Botswana at this time of year with migratory animals such springbok, zebra and wildebeest numbering in their thousands. Predators abound with plentiful lions - especially the famous Kalahari black-maned lion, cheetah, leopard and jackals. The dry season (May-September) is also a wonderful time to visit the area as the animals congregate close to any surface water and pans. Game drives, led by experienced guides, are the best way to take in the wildlife spectacle.
There are also geographical points of interest - the fascinating Deception Valley amongst them. Left largely unexplored until zoologists Mark and Delia Owens began to charter it back in the 1970's, this area is vast, remote and isolated. A famous feature of the Valley is the illusion inducing Deception Pan, the blue grey clay of which makes the completely dry pan appear filled with water: something best experienced from the air.
In spite of its natural beauty holidays to the Central Kalahari would be nothing without meeting the local Bushman people. Their knowledge of the landscape is unrivalled and their unique survival skills and way of life is legendary.
Our favourite itineraries, showcasing the best of Central Kalahari
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Experience the vast Kalahari Desert with this remote tented camp. Embrace the astronomer inside you and enjoy magnificent star-gazing or explore the surrounding pans for the black-maned Kalahari lion.
Tau Pan Camp is an excellent property found in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve; experience dramatic desert scenery and enjoy fantastic game viewing, with the chance to see Kalahari black-maned lion.
An intimate, tented retreat, The Jackal & Hide is located amid the shimmering grasslands of the Khwai Private Reserve, in the greater Okavango Delta, offering a variety of activities from classic game drives to mokoro trips and boat safaris.
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