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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


Honey Badger Safari

6 days • 2 locations • 1 country

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$5,790 - US$10,150 per person

Read more about the Honey Badger Safari


Porcupine Safari

11 days • 4 locations • 1 country

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$10,710 - US$16,860 per person

Read more about the Porcupine Safari

Inspire me

Need inspiration?

Let our trip chooser narrow down the options for you

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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.


89% success


89% success


82% success


71% success

White Rhino

67% success


43% success


27% success


27% success


23% success


21% success

Brown Hyena

15% success

Wild dog

4% success


4% success


4% success


0% success

Black Rhino

0% success


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 142 reviews from Central Kalahari Game Reserve. All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.

142 reviews since August 2007
Clare from London

Arrived 17 Feb 2024, 11 nights

"My Feb 2024 trip"

"very helpful indeed and extremely knowledgable. …" Read Clare’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Flying Dutchmen from NL

Arrived 7 Feb 2024, 17 nights

"This was truly very special!"

Overall rating: Excellent

David and Sammy from SF

Arrived 2 Apr 2023, 12 nights

"My Apr 2023 trip"

"Megan was patient, prompt, friendly and very helpful. …" Read David and Sammy’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Good

Mr D. from London

Arrived 15 Mar 2023, 13 nights

"My Mar 2023 trip"

"All the guides and trackers were cheerful motivated and knowledgable. …" Read Mr D.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mrs P. from United Kingdom

Arrived 16 Mar 2023, 11 nights

"My Mar 2023 trip"

"We really liked the suggested itineraries on the Expert Africa website. …" Read Mrs P.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

B & F from Hexham

Arrived 28 Feb 2023, 7 nights

"My Feb 2023 trip"

"The guides and trackers were excellent …" Read B & F’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Ms U from Idaho

Arrived 15 Jan 2023, 15 nights

"My Jan 2023 trip"

"might not be for everyone but worked perfectly for us …" Read Ms U’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Trish & Peter from Nairn

Arrived 7 Sep 2022, 15 nights

"My Sep 2022 trip"

"We would definitely recommend Expert Africa to our family and friends. …" Read Trish & Peter’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Good

Mr & Mrs B from Hampshire

Arrived 12 Sep 2022, 14 nights

"Finally we got to Botswana"

"We... come back to you because of your experience and knowledge ... …" Read Mr & Mrs B’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr J. from Makati

Arrived 22 Apr 2022, 37 nights

"Our extended southern Africa trip"

"Ultimately Expert Africa was helpful with two rebookings over the pandemic .... …" Read Mr J.’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













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

Central Kalahari Game Reserve in April

April is a fantastiic time to visit the Central Kalahari as 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 and the Central Kalahari is in many ways at its best now. The flat introducing panels are usually carpeted with short, fresh grass – and this is attracting large herds of springbok, gemsbok and giraffe. Small groups of ostrich can be found protecting grups oof youngsters, it's a particularly productive time for raptors.

  • Evening temperatures cooling with showers becoming rarer
  • The CKGR's pans are green and lush
  • Many animals still with young; good predator/prey interaction
  • In April, the Central Kalahari is one of Botswana's for wildlife
  • Large groups of species congregating on the pans

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

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.


Excursions in Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Optional extra day-drips and excursions possible whilst your staying within Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Talk to us: these are usually best arranged before you go.

Helicopter Flight - Botswana

Helicopter Flight - Botswana

Various: from 30 minutes to half a day.

Low-flying, agile and offering superb views, helicopters are an ideal way to move around the Okavango Delta.You can use them instead of fixed-wing inter-lodge transfers or as an addition to other wildlife watching activities, and of course, helicopters can hover to allow that perfect pic, whereas fixed-wings can’t.

More about Helicopter Flight

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