Located within the Kalahari Desert in central Botswana, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the second largest game reserve in the world.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve encompasses 20,400 square miles of land, about twice the size of Massachusetts, in the world-famous Kalahari Desert. Established in 1961, the land is generally flat with plenty of waist-high golden grass covering the scrubby sand dunes, wide flat clay pans, and acacia woodlands and camelthorn trees. Many of the river valleys are fossilized with salt pans. There are four fossilized rivers that wander through the reserve including Deception Valley which started forming around 16,000 years ago. The local San Bushmen have lived here for thousands of years as nomadic hunter-gatherers and have developed invaluable skills for adapting to this arid landscape. Unfortunately, many of the San have been relocated out of the park but about 250 still remain.
During and right after the rainy season, the flat grasslands of the reserve’s northern reaches teem with wildlife. This is the best time to see large herds of springbok and gemsbok, as well as wildebeest, hartebeest, eland, and giraffe. Of course, there are plenty of predators following such abundant prey including the black-maned Kalahari lion as well as one of the highest concentrations of cheetah in southern Africa and leopard. Smaller predators include black-backed jackal, Cape fox, honey badger, and many mongoose species.