Kalahari desert Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Botswana Africa

At some 52,000 square kilometres, making this Africa’s second largest reserve, Central Kalahari feels as wild and unfathomably remote as it was 50 years ago.

There are just two lodges inside the park and a smattering of scattered campsites used by mobile safari operators and self-drives, meaning it often feels like you have the whole park to yourself.

The game-viewing is best just after the rains when herds of oryx and springbok congregate in lush fossilised river valleys, preyed on by huge black-maned lions, cheetah and leopard. Other resident desert specialists include bat-eared foxes and brown hyenas while raptors flock to the park during the rainy season. The mammal density and diversity is not quite a match for the northern parks making it less well-suited to first-time safari travellers but for the feel of a true African wilderness, CKGR is tough to beat.

Hugging the park’s northern boundary, the Hainaveld consists of a handful of compact, segregated, privately-owned reserves, which offer an alternative Kalahari wildlife experience. The denser habitat means the landscape is less scenic than inside the park, but pumped waterholes concentrate the game in the dry season. Several of the lodges employ local Kalahari bushmen with legendary tracking skills, who will also teach you about their way of life on a guided walk.

Safari in Botswana

An expert guide to Botswana's best safari reserves, camps and experiences

My favourite time to visit Botswana is during the dry season, June to September. During this time, most 4WD tracks are open, water levels in the Delta are ideal for mokoro trips and wildlife watching. This period also corresponds with the high tourism season (which usually starts in June or July), so it’s also the busiest (and most expensive) time of more

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