The Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Beginning in Maun the Central Kalahari Game Reserve tour takes in the Northern section of the largest Game Reserve in the world! 47 000km² of red dunes, scrublands, thorn trees’ and star-studded night skies. Hear lions roaring in the distance, barking geckos and foxes howling to one another as we sit around the campfire.
After a safari into the Okavango this is the ideal contrast with its rich history of once being a part of the Kalahari Super Lake, ancient tribes and civilizations once existed here.
The Central Kalahari is a fascinating destination and landscape. The sands of the Kalahari stretch from the Orange River in the South all the way to Zaire in the North. This area is a small part of the ancient Kalahari Super Lake. The interior of the African continent was once filled with water by endo-eric rivers (inward flowing) supporting incredible wildlife populations. These waters fed the super lake to massive proportions.
As the Earth continued to shift and move so the geology changed and the super lake began a slow drain into the sea by the exoeric rivers (outward flowing). Today this area is dominated by sand, shifting dunes and the odd oasis of water. Some San bushmen still call this area home and live traditional hunter gatherer lives.
This tour is an immersion of your soul into the vastness of one of the largest deserts in Africa. Join us over 10 days as we explore the desert adapted wildlife, shifting sand dunes and ever changing landscape of this beautiful area.
Read our Country Information for travel advice to Botswana. Please also read our 4X4 Safari Terms and Conditions.
If the Central Kalahari fascinates you then continue reading about her wildlife and the Kalahari Research and Conservation programme.
For sublime accommodation in other deserts of Namibia explore Desert Quiver Camp or Kulala Desert Lodge. Our other desert adventure is the Okavango & Makgadikgadi Pans over 12 days.
Or explore the 9 day mobile safari.
How to Get There
Fly in to Maun in Botswana from a variety of different locations. Airlines that fly to Maun include South African Airways and SA Airlink.
On arrival in Maun you will be met by your safari representative and assisted onto a light aircraft for your flight to the Linyanti.
For assistance with ground arrangements, get in touch with us, we’ll make sure your safari is seamless.
Day 1 – Maun
On your arrival at Maun International Airport, Pierre will meet you off your aircraft and drive you the short distance to Maun Rest Camp set on the banks of the Thamalakane River. Here you can relax in the shade of a Real Fan palm tree while the team prepares the vehicles for the next days expedition. A scenic flight over the Okavango Delta is highly recommended, the perspective is fantastic and well worth it. We will dine together as a group to get to know one another and for Pierre to explain the plan for the following day. (D)
Day 2 and 3 – Deception Valley (Lekhubu Pan)
A mere 300 kilometers will take us at least 6 hours to drive, so, with an early breakfast we will load up the vehicles to begin the adventure. Leaving Maun behind we journey East, towards Nata and will turn off to Mopipi. Once on the smaller roads the potholes do not get smaller, larger if that’s at all possible, 100km/h is the safest speed. This area of Botswana is flat and seemingly desolate, donkeys, cows and goats cross the road at will. Passing Xumaga we continue to Rakops where we turn off into the desert. Could the road get any worse? Yes!
Arriving at our campsite late afternoon, Wilson will set up your chairs in the shade and serve you a cool beer or gin & tonic. Slowly the camp takes shape while delicious smells waft from the kitchen – dinner is coming. (BLD)
Day 4 – Xade
After a long day yesterday, we have a very relaxing day ahead of us. The desert slows you down, time to take in the scenery with coffee in your chair as the sun slowly rises. Mariclaire will prepare us all breakfast while Wilson dismantles the camp and the guides check the vehicles, any issue is small for Burt who has years of experience fixing things in the bush. His tales are legendary! Congolese Gorillas in the mist is no exaggeration! With all our gear packed we slowly make our way South West towards Xade set on the banks of the Okwa riverbed. This area is vast and during summer can be hot, during the day most animals rest and wait out the heat. We can set up our campsite and once the heat has dissipated we will embark on an early evening game drive. As we are in the far South and nearly in the central section of the park we will use this opportunity to explore some of the lesser used roads. (BLD)
Day 5 – Piper Pan
Waking up in this area will make you feel like the last people on the planet! At a guess we will be the only people for 50 kilometers around us. While the riverbed may be dry there is still subterranean water that the plants are able to draw from. These plants will attract all sorts of antelope which in turn attract the predators. As prey species are attracted to water so predators lurk, hoping to ambush a meal while it drinks. If we are extremely lucky Lion may pass the water hole in the night and call their presence.
Early morning when its still cool is a great time to explore the desert for the creatures that are nocturnal and crepuscular – from gecko to scorpions, lizards and snakes, this is a wonderful time when the guides will lead you through the landscape to discover the smaller inhabitants. If we are extremely lucky we will find small holes in the ground and perhaps witness a Meerkat family waking up and beginning their day. (BLD)
Day 6 – Motopi
Today we have the chance to explore Deception Valley. There are numerous tracks and roads in the Valley with vegetation ranging from savannah grasslands to scattered thorn trees providing much needed shade for the wildlife during the heat of the day. Lunch will be along the side of the road with a suitable patch of shade before we continue exploring. If we do not find good game sightings we may head for our campsite early and decide to do an early evening drive in the hope of better luck. Motopi is the only campsite in the far North West of the park, isolated and completely remote, we will be the only people here for the night. Once again, our chef will prepare a delicious meal while we sit around discussing the days events. (BLD)
Day 7 and 8 – Passarge Valley
Black Backed Jackal, Honey Badger, Bat Eared Foxes are just some of the smaller predators that will make early mornings one of the best times to be awake. As the sky lightens, the night sounds become tangible creatures still foraging for a meal. Jackal may howl but if you come across a Honey Badger its best to retreat rapidly. They’re known as the fiercest creatures in Africa! And for good reason, they will attack or challenge any animal of any size. From Motopi we are driving South again. Our destination for the evening is Passarge Valley. But first we will drive North to the border of the park, explore, see what’s there and discover something new. (BLD)
Day 9 – Leopard Pan
After so much discovering today we will have a more relaxed start to the day and take some time to relax and enjoy ourselves as we spend a half day in the campsite. We will explore Manong & Sunday Pan before we make our home at Leopard Pan for the night. (BLD)
Day 10 – Return to Maun
After another exciting night we will have a delicious breakfast prepared around the fire by Mariclaire before we break camp for the final day of our safari. Game driving back to the gate and finally the small town of Rakops where we will once again find a tarmac road. On the way we can look forward to a swim in the pool and our Meru tents at Maun Rest Camp. A cold beer will be waiting for us! (BL)