Still considered a true wilderness, which some might say isn’t hard being the second largest game reserve in the world (52,800km²), the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert has also for hundreds of years been the home of the nomadic San Bushmen and has the highest concentration of cheetah in all southern Africa.

This is a remote swathe of flat, rolling bush territory, quite inaccessible in places, with seemingly unending grasslands, peppered with sand dunes, fossil river valleys and salt pans. It was in fact shut down for some 30 years but the camps, lodges and visitors are beginning to increase once more, in fact still giving those who come here a more exclusive safari in many ways.

One of the highlights of this reserve is Deception Valley in the north, formed by four fossilised river systems and where its sweet grasses attract large herds of herbivores and in turn, hungry predators.

In terms of wildlife, it offers plains game unseen in the Delta such as large herds of gemsbok and springbok, and you will also frequently see the black-maned Kalahari lion, lots of cheetah, leopard, giraffe, cape fox, honey badger, the rare nocturnal brown hyena, and over 220 species of birds.

When to go

The summer months (December to March) for the rains are the best times to visit as the landscapes become greener and attracts more wildlife.


What to do

  • Daily safaris
  • Meet and interact with the traditional San bushmen
  • Explore Deception Valley
  • Nature walks

Lodges and camps in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Here are some of our travel designers' favourite options