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Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Discover the beautiful and remote Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

There are only a few camps inside the reserve.

Central Kalahari is a great place for spotting cheetahs.

Other wildlife can also be found in good numbers.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Space: mile after mile of open space in every direction, as far as the eye can see.

The sheer scale of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is breathtaking, its vast plains blending into a sea of gently undulating sand ridges, and broken only by the occasional flat-topped acacia.

Key to this often hostile environment is adaptation – and wildlife has risen to the challenge.
Oryx, in their smart desert livery, have an inbuilt temperature regulator to withstand extreme heat. Springbok absorb water almost exclusively from plants. Ground squirrels shelter beneath their tails. And in dried-up pools huge African bullfrogs bury themselves in the mud to sit out the months – or years.

Despite the open hunting, predators are hampered by lack of water, but lion, cheetah and even leopard still survive here. Secretary birds stalk the plains, flocks of red-billed quelea rise and fall like autumn leaves in a stiff breeze, while overhead is the domain of the raptors: kestrels, kites and more. And high above, as night falls, the starscape of the Kalahari unfolds its ethereal beauty.

The CKGR is at its most enticing in the first months of the year, after the rains that breathe life into this arid environment. Flowers – from yellows to blues to pinks – populate the newly green grass, and the grazing draws animals to eat their fill.

For the San, whose centuries-old adaptation to the Kalahari is legendary, this time of plenty offered a brief respite in a harsh world. As well as discovering the natural wonders of the Kalahari, today’s visitors may also have the chance to learn a little of the San way of life, from seeking out water and building shelters to hunting their prey.

With just two lodges in the reserve itself, a few more on the boundaries, and a smattering of isolated campsites, the CKGR offers an extraordinary antidote to the modern world.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Central Kalahari Game Reserve: in detail

Safaris visiting Central Kalahari

Just ideas, we'll always tailor-make a trip for you


Map

Honey Badger Safari

6 days • 2 locations • 1 country
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Two smart sister-camps offer access to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the heart of the Okavango Delta. Experience a spectacular range of habitats and wildlife through diversely exciting safari activities.

Visiting Okavango Delta, Central Kalahari

US$4,960 - US$6,940 per person

Read more about the Honey Badger Safari

Map

Porcupine safari

11 days • 4 locations • 1 country
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Visit dramatically contrasting landscapes boasting a variety of species during this exploration of Botswana’s top-safari destinations. A combination of national parks and private reserves allows for a range of activities.

Visiting Chobe, Central Kalahari and 2 other areas

US$9,000 - US$13,570 per person

Read more about the Porcupine safari

Inspire me

Need inspiration?

Let our trip chooser narrow down the options for you

Inspire me

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Central Kalahari

This is their success for sightings in Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


White Rhino

100% success

Oryx

92% success

Lion

85% success

Wildebeest

85% success

Giraffe

77% success

Zebra

60% success

Elephant

50% success

Eland

33% success

Leopard

31% success

Cheetah

23% success

Brown Hyena

15% success

Meerkat

8% success

Buffalo

0% success

Black Rhino

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Aardvark

0% success

Map of Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Choices for where to stay in Central Kalahari Game Reserve


Most recent reviews of our safaris to Central Kalahari

Click below to browse all 124 reviews from Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.


97%
124 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
115
Good
8
Average
3
Poor
1
Terrible
0
Mr & Mrs V from Harlow

Arrived 14 Jan 2020, 11 nights

"My Jan 2020 trip"

"our thirteenth safari but our first during the green season …" Read Mr & Mrs V’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr K-Prof V from Michigan

Arrived 3 Jan 2020, 10 nights

"A Nice Way to Wrap Up Our African Holiday"

"second trip taken with help from Maruska - pleased with advice and organization …" Read Mr K-Prof V’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Good

Ms A and Mr W from Calgary

Arrived 26 Nov 2019, 9 nights

"First time....but not the last"

"The trip exceeded our expectations in every way... thanks to Expert Africa... …" Read Ms A and Mr W’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

M & Mrs G from Harrogate

Arrived 26 Oct 2019, 25 nights

"My Oct 2019 trip"

"The trip more than lived up to our expectations. …" Read M & Mrs G’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mrs K. from Nice

Arrived 1 Nov 2019, 16 nights

"wow, wow, and wow"

"what an amazing experience...thanks to tracy...for making everything so easy. …" Read Mrs K.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Ms D from Ireland

Arrived 17 Aug 2019, 21 nights

"Botswana & Zambia August/September 2019"

"Thank you Megan for arranging this fantastic trip..organised to perfection. …" Read Ms D’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs M from Weymouth

Arrived 24 Jun 2019, 44 nights

"Trip of a lifetime"

"Spent a long time with Richard Trillo and his team...very hard to improve. …" Read Mr & Mrs M’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr&Mrs TGC from Oakville

Arrived 25 May 2019, 11 nights

"My May 2019 trip"

"Trip was absolutely fabulous. …" Read Mr&Mrs TGC’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Birdy from Cheadle

Arrived 16 Mar 2019, 13 nights

"March trip 2019"

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs C from Herts

Arrived 9 Mar 2019, 11 nights

"Safari 2019"

"This was an amazing trip. Our guides were very knowledgeable.. …" Read Mr & Mrs C’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Central Kalahari Game Reserve reviews

When to go to Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Central Kalahari in Botswana


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Botswana in January

January is at the peak of Botswana’s rainy season. These rains are often in the evening and are short but heavy, with occasional thunderstorms. Temperatures will still be high but cooler than October–December. Animals are generally dispersed, and not easy to spot, with the best game viewing found in the north of Chief’s Island and on the eastern and southern sides of the Okavango Delta. January is also one of the best months to see the zebra and wildebeest migration in the Makgadikgadi salt pans and at Nxai Pan. Migratory birds abound throughout northern Botswana, along with a large number of breeding flamingos in the flooded salt pans. Rates are generally relatively low, making this a good time to visit on a budget.

  • Temperatures are still warm, with occasional thunderstorms
  • The bush feels alive; birdlife is at its most spectacular
  • Big game is dispersed
  • Zebra & wildebeest migration at its height
  • Availability in lodges and camps is often very good

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in January

Botswana in February

The weather in February is very similar to January, with heavy rain most days – often towards evening – and temperatures on the high side, albeit cooling off from the rains and surface water. Across northern Botswana, the landscape feels green and alive; insects and smaller animals are more easily seen, and many birds and animals are raising their young. However, the rains have created pools and waterholes in the bush and thicker vegetation and tall grass makes it trickier to spot larger animals. Further south, the game viewing is beginning to pick up in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Visitor numbers remain low, with attendant rates and availability in camps and lodges.

  • Temperatures still warm with occasional thunderstorms
  • Many animals with young; birdlife at its most spectacular
  • Big game is dispersed
  • Game viewing picking up in the Central Kalahari
  • Visitor numbers are low, so camp availability can be very good

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in February

Botswana in March

March usually sees Botswana’s main rains starting to tail off. Many days will be clear, with a strong sun raising temperatures. On some days clouds will build, and the late-afternoon may see a short thunderstorm. Across the country, the landscape is green and alive. Many birds and animals are finishing raising their young. Much of the migration is now moving north towards the Savute area or Chobe National Park, though thick vegetation still makes it trickier to spot even larger animals. March is one of the best times to be in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, where many of the pans fill up and animals come to drink, closely followed by predators. With few visitors in most areas, rates may still be relatively low.

  • Variable weather: rains tailing off but still hot
  • Occasional small thunderstorms
  • Many animals finish raising their young; birdlife still spectacular
  • The best time to visit the Central Kalahari Game Reserve
  • Few tourists visit during March, so rates often low

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in March

Botswana in April

During April the rains have usually stopped, though there may be still be the odd late downpour. This results in clear skies and a lovely green, lush landscape. Night-time temperatures usually start to drop during April with this being most noticeable in the Central Kalahari and the Makgadikgadi areas. The Central Kalahari is really coming into its own at this point and from April through to May/June the Savute region is a particular favourite of ours, with good predator/prey interaction. In much of northern Botswana, the camps are coming into their “shoulder” season, so rates are on the rise but still relatively low.

  • Evening temperatures cooling with just the odd shower
  • Northern Botswana is green and lush
  • Many animals still with young; good predator/prey interaction
  • Central Kalahari and Savute the best places for wildlife
  • A popular shoulder season time to book. Rates relatively low

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in April

Botswana in May

May is a very popular month to visit Botswana, often the last month of the “shoulder” season before camp rates hit their peak. While there is very little chance of rain, the annual floods from Angola are starting to make their way through the northern part of the Delta, and will eventually reach the majority of the Okavango late June. With cooler temperatures morning and evening, predator activity tends to be higher, although tall grasses can still obstruct game viewing. With cool crisp evenings, and the game viewing really picking up, this is the favourite time to visit for many of our team – and camp bookings throughout Botswana are snapped up quickly.

  • Cool mornings and evenings with little chance of rain
  • Game viewing is beginning to pick up
  • Predator activity increasing, though grasses still quite high
  • Last month of “shoulder” season for most camps
  • Availability goes quickly throughout Botswana

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in May

Botswana in June

June is the real start of the dry season. Temperatures are still cool in the morning and evenings with night-time temperatures sometimes reaching freezing, rising to 25–30 degrees Celsius during the day, with blue skies. Along with this comes a certain clarity to the air, favourable for serious photographers. Surface water and waterholes begin to dry up during this period and many animals begin to congregate around the remaining areas with water. Visibility is improving as the grass is beginning to die back, and game viewing is very good everywhere, with particular improvement in the Kwando–Linyanti areas. Not surprisingly, camp availability is becoming scarce and rates are high.

  • Warm, comfortable days; cold nights, morning & evenings
  • Air clarity favours serious photographers
  • Wildlife is gravitating to waterholes, making game-viewing productive
  • Grasses beginning to die back
  • Most camps are into peak season, with rates correspondingly high

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in June

Botswana in July

Evenings and mornings are still cool in July, and this combined with great game viewing makes it one of the most popular times to visit Botswana. Vegetation is really thinning out now making game easier to spot, with the few remaining waterholes attracting lots of wildlife. The north-eastern side of Chobe National Park, along the Chobe River, is also very rewarding, although this area can become very busy. Game viewing is extremely good in the Khwai areas, too, but again, this is a public area and – unlike in the private concessions of the Delta – vehicle numbers can be high. Camps are now very much into the peak season, and tend to be full.

  • Comfortable days; cold nights, morning & evenings
  • Game viewing very good as vegetation dies back and waterholes dry out
  • Chobe Riverfront and Khwai areas become very busy
  • Private concessions helps to avoid potentially high vehicle numbers
  • Now very much into peak season

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in July

Botswana in August

August is a popular time to visit Botswana, coinciding with the European summer holidays, and camp availability is difficult. Temperatures are generally cool at night, and comfortable during the day, although towards the end of the month they can rise above 35 degrees Celsius (albeit with low humidity). Cloudless skies bring spectacular star-gazing. Wildlife has congregated around the few remaining water sources, and much of the vegetation has now died back, so wildlife viewing tends to be varied and rewarding, particularly in the Okavango Delta. Depending on the rains in Angola this can also be one of the best times to see the delta floods at their peak.

  • Dry, warm days, with mainly cool nights
  • Cloudless skies with spectacular stars at night
  • A fantastic time for wildlife watching, particularly in the Okavango
  • Traditionally one of the best times to see the Delta in full flood
  • Peak season: so high rates and many lodges full

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in August

Botswana in September

September is another favourite month for some of our team members. Daytime temperatures are getting warmer, but nights remain cool. With the drier conditions, most of the greenery has faded from the landscape, and dust or even smoke create hazy conditions that aren’t great for photographers – though this does result in fantastic sunsets. This is another extremely good month for game viewing, with large numbers of elephant and buffalo congregating in the Chobe region and migrant birds begin to return to Botswana. Rates remain high – and availability correspondingly low.

  • Warmer days and cool nights
  • One of the best months for wildlife viewing
  • Large congregations of elephant & buffalo in the Chobe region
  • Hazy conditions less good for photographers, but brilliant sunsets
  • High season rates; many lodges & camps are full

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in September

Botswana in October

October is the one of the hottest months of the year, and usually one of the driest. Towards the end of the month the chances of rain can increase, and along with this can come greater humidity. The air is usually dry and hazy, making photography more challenging, but the lack of water and vegetation result in very good big-game viewing. Water levels are now much lower, so water-based activities such as boating, mokoro trips and fishing cease in many of the camps which are not on major tributaries.

  • Hot temperatures, with the chance of rain towards the end of the month
  • Great big-game viewing
  • Less opportunity for water activities in camps as floods recede
  • Hazy air not great for photographers
  • Final month of the peak season in camps

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in October

Botswana in November

November usually marks the end of the dry season in Botswana, when increasing temperatures drive a rise in humidity, sometimes culminating in the first rains. These are often short but very heavy showers in the late afternoon or during the night, and can be spectacular. The rains lower the temperatures slightly but bring a flush of green back into the dry landscapes. As waterholes in surrounding areas fill, wildlife will gradually begin to disperse as it is not restricted by the availability of water. November is a great time for birdwatching, with the arrival of many migrant birds. The first couple of weeks are very popular with travellers looking for great game viewing at lower rates as Botswana enters the “shoulder” season.

  • Hot in the middle of the day; sometimes humid
  • Heavy showers increasingly likely as the month progresses
  • Wildlife watching still good, but less reliable once it rains
  • Migrant birds start to arrive
  • “Shoulder” season brings mid-range rates in camps

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Botswana in December

The rains in Botswana have now started, bringing some respite to the high temperatures. Game viewing becomes harder as wildlife is more dispersed but great sightings can still be had in the right areas such as Khwai and the Kwara and Mombo concessions. Areas such as the Makgadikgadi Pans change completely with the salt pans becoming covered in a shallow layer of water attracting large numbers of breeding flamingos. Low-season rates at many camps are a draw.

  • Temperatures starting to fall from the highs of October/November
  • Very high chance of rain, usually large heavy storms for short periods
  • Flamingos return to breed at the Makgadikgadi Pans
  • Wildlife more dispersed, so game viewing more challenging
  • Typically low-season rates in the camps

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in December

Botswana fact file

Useful information and advice to help you prepare for a trip including Central Kalahari Game Reserve.


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