Central Kalahari Game Reserve
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a vast, beautiful desert and the largest reserve in Botswana. It is pure, desolate wilderness where black-maned lions prowl the land and can be heard roaring through the night. While not as hospitable an environment as the other parks, the Central Kalahari has many special animal sightings on offer. From incredible landscape photographic opportunities to superb wildlife sightings, this remote, desert land offers an array of exceptional adventures. If you are seeking to experience the wonders of a true wilderness then this is the place for you. With its rugged terrain and harsh, inhospitable environment, the Central Kalahari is a beautiful and unique place.
Best Time To Visit
December - March (Deception Valley)
Average Safari Cost
$200 to $1,500pp/day
Black-maned lions, star-gazing, Deception Valley, beautiful scenery, game drives, night drives, native cultures, Piper’s Pan and Passarge Valley
Why Visit Central Kalahari?
While visiting Central Kalahari is slightly more challenging than the other reserves, don't be put off. As long as you are sufficiently prepared and organised, you will have the adventure of a lifetime in the Central Kalahari. The magnificent expanse of the desert with its seemingly endless horizons boasts the most mesmerizing sunsets.
Nights are consumed by an absolute silence, interrupted only by the mighty roars of black-maned lions and the calls of black-backed jackals. Despite being a desert habitat, there are still many animals to see. Deception Valley is an area of grassland in an ancient riverbed, which now provides a place for animals to gather.
While it offers great wildlife viewing, Deception Valley is an amazing sight to behold itself. In the daylight the blue-grey clay pan creates a mirage of submerging in water. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve offers many unique and exciting experiences and is truly worth a visit.
Pros And Cons
- Beautiful scenery
- Very isolated and secluded so no crowds of people
- Black-maned lion sightings
- Incredibly quiet and peaceful
- Good for birdwatching, especially birds of prey
- Not as suitable for a self-drive safari
- Few accommodation options within and around the reserve
Best Time To Visit
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve can be visited at any time throughout the year. However, the animals migrate to different areas within the reserve as seasons change. Wildlife viewing is best from December to March in the wet season.
This is when animals gather around the Deception Valley area and can easily be spotted. Newborn animals and plenty of migratory birds can be found. Unfortunately, roads can also get too wet and muddy during this time and be closed off. Heavy rains during the day can sometimes disrupt planned activities. It can also get very hot during these months with temperatures reaching 93.4˚F (34˚C).
During the dry season, May to October, animals disperse over the plains in search of food, which makes wildlife viewing more difficult. It is extremely dry and can get very cold during these months. The high season is also from July to October, so safari rates may be higher.
Start your Botswana Adventure
Victoria Falls, Chobe, Central Kalahari
This Safari is suitable as an extension either from Cape Town, Namibia, S. Africa, etc arrive at Victoria Falls and depart from Maun airport. Two nights Victoria Falls, transfers ex airport and Rain Forest. One hour Road transfers from Victoria Falls to Kasane in Botswana, Full day Private Game drive in Chobe, Boat cruise, Charter flight Kasane to the edge of Kalahari, 3 nigts at Deception Valley fully inclusive 4x4 game drives, San Walk and culture interaction, charter flight Kalahari to Maun.
Wildlife And Birds
- Hooded vulture
- White-backed vulture
Getting There And Safety
All foreign visitors must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after their visit.
Visas are not required by visitors of many nationalities, who will receive a 30-day entry permit upon arrival.
Visitors must also pay a $30 Tourism Development Levy when they arrive.
For more information on visas see Botswana Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
The vaccinations recommended for Botswana are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid.
Boosters are recommended for measles, tetanus and diphtheria.
Unless you plan to visit the more northern parks in Botswana, anti-malarial drugs aren't necessary. It is still advised to use insect repellent.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required if travelling from a yellow fever zone.
It’s better to check with your local medical authority, which vaccinations are required.
For more information on vaccinations see our Botswana Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Botswana. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.
Check the World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of your safari trip cover.
Pack clothes for both warm and cool weather, as it can get very hot during the day and quite cold at night. Preferably neutral, earthy toned clothes. Other essential items are a hat, sunscreen, toiletries, closed shoes, torch, batteries, insect repellent, binoculars, camera, a good map and a First Aid kit. If you are self-driving be sure to pack your vehicle with 2 spare tires, tire pump, car jack, shovel and a sand mat.
For more details about what to take with you on a safari see our Safari Packing List.