. Central Kalahari Game Reserve Bushmen and Facts
Home > Places > Botswana > Parks > Kalahari Reserve

Central Kalahari Game Reserve- Bushmen & facts

In the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana, experience a place of golden plains and exceptional diversity of wildlife

Springboks in sunset dress

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is within the Ghanzi District, and together with the Khutse Game Reserve they form the largest Game Reserve Complex in Botswana and the third largest in the world.

The 52 800 sq.km Game Reserve consists of fossil valleys and short shrub savannah type vegetation.

Forming part of the Kalahari ecosystem it supports a wide variety of animals such as wildebeest, hartebeest, eland, springbok, kudu, giraffe, brown hyena, warthog, cheetah, wild dog, leopard, lion, blue wildebeest, eland, gemsbok, kudu, red hartebeest and springbok

Central Kalahari Game Reserve [CKGR]
“Kalahari” is derived from the Tswana word Kgala meaning“great thirst” – and it has vast areas without any permanent water. The term ‘desert,’ is however not quite accurate when referring to the Kalahari, the region receives an annual rainfall of 60mm-175mm, too high to be classified as a true desert. The Kalahari’s vegetation consists mainly of grasses and acacia’s, as well as stunted thorn and scrub bush. There are over 400 identified plant species present.

Annual rain season is between December and March when summer temperatures can get quite high. After the summer rains – the CKGR completely transforms as the blue sky fills with huge clouds, and the plains and pans burst with sweet grasses.

This is one of the best game viewing areas in Botswana at this time of year and not many people seem to be aware of this – so the visitors are few. Summer Specials

The dry season (May-September) is also a wonderful time to visit the CKGR as the animals congregate close to any surface water and pans

Best viewing times are between December and April, when the animals congregate in the pans and valleys.

Sleeping in the open without a tent is dangerous and tents should be fastened to prevent hyenas, snakes, and scorpions from gaining entry.

Foodstuffs should not be kept in the tent but in vehicles to avoid the unwanted attentions of lions and hyenas.

Visitors may walk in pan areas where visibility is good, but walking in areas of tall grass or thick bush is potentially dangerous and not encouraged.

It is always wise to stay within easy reach of the vehicle. There are three entry points to the reserve, the one through Khutse in the south, then a western entrance through Xade, and also in the north-east through Matswere

Getting There: From Gaborone it is a 250 km road journey. You will need a 4 x 4 and the journey will take over four hours

Kalahari Cheetah


Campsites(book direct with Botswana National Parks)

There are nine undeveloped public camping sites within the Central Kalahari. Matswere is the access point for designated but undeveloped campsites in the region of Deception Valley, Sunday Pan, Leopard Pan and Passage Valley.

The campsites at Piper Pan can be accessed from either Matswere or Xade. While these sites remain undeveloped with no toilets, visitors are requested to dig their own mini-latrine to ensure they leave no signs of being there.

Firewood may be collected from wooded areas but not from tree islands.
The ashes from campfires must he buried before vacating a campsite, combustible rubbish burnt and non-combustible carried back to the pit at the entrance gate.

Water for purposes other than drinking is available from the Wildlife Camp at Xade and at the Matswere entrance gate/tourist office


Central Kalahari Game Reserve


Summer Safaris Tours

Camping Safari Tours


Central Kalahari park | General

Botswana map | Okavango

Fact File

Bushmen - San People

Nxai Pan

Special offers

Camping Safaris

Summer Specials

Guide African Animals
Photo Slideshows
African Birds Botswana
Namibia | South Africa
Zimbabwe | Zambia

email icon Query or Quote

office hrs GMT+2


community iconBotswana Parks in the Palm of your Hand