Covering 52800 sq. km (20400 sq. mi), the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is larger than the Netherlands and the second-largest game reserve in the world. The semi-arid shrub savanna is interspersed with huge grasslands that nourish large herds of herbivores, attracting many predators. The area is well known for black-maned lions and cheetah sightings. Due to its remote location and massive size, visitors are awed by the sense of pure wilderness. For this reason, too, there are only a few private lodges and campsites, so one is likely to encounter few people at all. Aside from game viewing, it is also possible to have an ethical, cultural experience with the region’s indigenous San people.

Essential Traveller Information

For those that book a tour to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve with a reputable operator, practically every aspect of the vacation is taken care of, from transport to meals and activities. Private lodges are typically reached by charter flight, with all-inclusive rates. Self-drive visitors are cautioned to do extensive planning as infrastructure and services in and around Central Kalahari Game Reserve are incredibly scarce. A well-equipped and well-provisioned 4×4 vehicle is a necessity, and travelling in a convoy is highly recommended. The ‘easiest’ time to travel is in the Dry Season (April-October) when roads are at their best. As in most parks, game viewing in the Central Kalahari is best done in the early morning and late afternoon when wildlife is more active.

There are no scheduled flights to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) or Ghanzi. However, private charters can be arranged via your travel agent, and it will probably be necessary to visit lodges in the region. The town of Ghanzi is recognised as the gateway to the Kalahari and is relatively easy to reach by road, although self-drive visitors are advised not to travel at night. A well-equipped and fully provisioned 4×4 vehicle is needed as there are little to no services available. Road conditions can be terrible after rain.

Distance and Estimated Time to reach Ghanzi:

  • Gaborone – Ghanzi: 670 km (416 mi) – 8h40
  • Maun – Ghanzi: 285 km (177 mi) – 5h00
  • Buitepos Border Post (Namibia) – Ghanzi: 211 km (131 mi) 2h37. Open 07h00-00h00

Most self-drive visitors enter the park via the Matswere Gate to the northeast of the reserve and should note that it is not necessary to transit Ghanzi if approaching from the east (Gaborone/Maun). If coming from the west (Ghanzi side), Tsau Gate is most often used.

December to March is regarded as the best time to visit the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, as the pans in Deception Valley attract large herds of game with their young, along with predators. That said, this is when the rains fall, so roads can be difficult to negotiate. Roads are better in April-May, but wildlife is more dispersed, yet easy enough to find. The high season at the lodges runs from July to October when rates are highest – although it is never crowded. Due to the desert climate, the best weather is experienced from May-August, and it is hottest in January.

MAP OF Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Luxury Camps & Safari Lodges