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Central Kalahari Game Reserve

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About Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Country found in: Botswana
Parks total area: 52,000 km² (20,000 mi²)
Year established: 1961
Park wildlife: 21 animals listed
Anti-malarial: Not required

What YAS members think of Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Quality of wildlife:
Crowdedness*:
Quality of lodging:
Most-visited month: February

* Crowded parks have a lower rating

Central Kalahari Game Reserve map

Aptly named, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a national park located in central Botswana and is part of the famous Kalahari Desert. At 52,000 km² (20,000 mi²), it is the third-largest national park in Africa, behind Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania and Mudumu National Park in Namibia.

Its remote location in Botswana means it receives far fewer visitors than the parks located near Victoria Falls. Central Kalahari is probably one of the few parks where the dry season is not the best time for wildlife viewing. The dry season runs from June through October and, during the time, much of the wildlife migrates north in search of water supplies. Guests visiting during this time of year will have drier weather and cooler temperatures, but there will be less game to view. Resident animals such as springbok, cheetah and meerkat can be viewed year-round, though.

Central Kalahari park hours

The park opens and closes around sunrise and sunset, respectively, and game drives are not allowed when the park is closed. This is one reason most of the lodges are located just outside the park, so they can offer drives when the park is closed.

Central Kalahari park hours

When to visit Central Kalahari Game Reserve

The rainy or green season runs from November through May and is the best time to visit. This is also the summertime for Botswana. Days and nights are warm during this time of year. The increase in moisture turns the landscape green, and the migratory animals return to feed. A visit is recommended during these months.

Central Kalahari is home to many animals, several of which thrive in the arid conditions, such as the stately oryx, the ubiquitous impala, the acacia-loving giraffe and the ostrich. CKGR also has wild dogs, blue wildebeest, zebra and, especially during the wet season, a large variety of birds.

Wildlife of Central Kalahari

The open, grassy plains and the large number of smaller herbivores means cheetahs can be found. Lions and leopards also call the CKGR home. Interestingly enough, animals that are found in abundance in many other African parks are not found here due to the dry conditions. Baboons and African buffalo are absent. Bat-eared foxes are found here but one has to be quick as they are shy and tend to run as soon as they hear a vehicle approaching.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve lodging

There are few non-camping lodging options in Central Kalahari, with many of the more upscale lodging options located right outside the parks borders. Those wishing to stay in CKGR and keep costs down will want to do mobile safari, where tents are set up at designated campsites. This low-frills tented camping option is often appealing to those seeking a true safari experience. 

Camp sites in Deception Pan area

Matswere is the access point for designated campsites in the northern region CKGR which includes: Deception Valley, Sunday Pan, Leopard Pan and Passarge Valley, whilst the campsites at Piper Pan can be accessed from either Matswere or Xade. New tracks and campsites have been opened up along the Passarge Valley, where game viewing can be rewarding, and south from the Passarge waterhole area through to link up with the Piper Pan/Deception road.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve is recommended to travelers of all levels of experience and for those wishing to see the highest concentration of wildlife, a visit during the green season is advised.

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Central Kalahari Game Reserve tour packages

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Tour by: Sunway Safaris

An accommodated adventure visiting the highlights of Namibia and Botswana. Visit the mighty Victoria Falls befor...

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$3851

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Tour by: Enrico Tours and Safaris

Adventurous travellers seeking a truly remote African safari will be thrilled to discover that such a thing stil...

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$7933

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Tour by: Enrico Tours and Safaris

The Central Kalahari is probably at its most enticing when travel there is most difficult: in the first few mont...

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$1162

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Tour by: African Safari Experts

Join us on a spectacular photographic safari with pro photographer Dr Joel Broida and veteran safari guide Pierr...

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$15550

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Tour by: Ulinda Safari Trails

Have a very special Christmas in two totally unique environments: Nxai Pan- part of the great Makgadikgadi Salt ...

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$2400

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Tour by: Freedom Africa

A magnificent 22 day voyage of discovery through the mountains, plains and delta landscapes of South Africa, Nam...

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$3306

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Tour by: Cheno Travel & Safari Tours

16 Days Klahari and Delta Expedition Mobile Camping

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$3625

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Tour by: Ulinda Safari Trails

Highlights: Staying in pristine wilderness in the Okavango Delta Visiting the magnificent Godikwe heronry re...

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$8400

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