Covering over 50 000 km², the Central Kalahari game Reserve
is the largest, most remotely situated reserve in Southern Africa, and the second largest wildlife reserve in the world.
The reserve was established in 1961, intended to serve as a sanctuary for the San, where they could live their ‘traditional’, nomadic way of life without interruption or outside influence. After being closed to the public for 30-odd years, in the 1990s, guided tours and self-drive tours were given access to the park, however, in strictly controlled numbers. Most of this immense reserve is inaccessible, and a sense of remoteness and immensity pervades.
The Central Kalahari is home to a wide variety of incredible wildlife, including lion, leopard, wild dog, cheetah, brown hyena, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok and red hartebeest. In the wet summer months, wildlife gather at the best grazing areas in the northern reaches of the reserve.
The land in the park gently undulates, and is alternatively covered with sparse bush and long grass, which conceals the prevalent sand dunes. Interestingly, four fossilized rivers make their way throughout the reserve, including Deception Valley, one of the main highlights of the area. Deception Valley, which began to form 16 000 years ago, is found in the northern extremities of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and it’s lush grasses are known to attract hordes of wildlife in the rainy season.
The most popular time of year to visit the reserve is undoubtedly in between January and April - summer - when the inter-dune valleys are lush with vegetation, attracting wildlife in their numbers. While this is the most beautiful, and exciting time of year, it is also the most difficult in terms of travel, with the rain often making the roads difficult to navigate.
The Kalahari Plains Camp
is a private, luxury tented camp, and one of only two permanent accommodation options inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Given that access is so strictly controlled for local and international travellers, the region only sees a handful of visitors each year, and as such, visitors often feel like they have the reserve to themselves.