Covering over 50,000 sq km in southern-central Botswana, the vast Central Kalahari Game Reserve is now firmly on the safari map. Remote, wild and pristine, the wide open plains, dry riverbeds and occasional salt pans promise a unique combination of stark landscapes and spectacular seasonal wildlife. There are two outstanding camps within the reserve itself and some character lodges just outside the park but still within the Kalahari eco-system. The desert conditions can be harsh and unforgiving, but this is an environment utterly unaffected by human intrusion, where the landscapes are unspoiled and the campfire stargazing sensational.
You wouldn’t come here to view abundant wildlife during the dry season, when some camps close and the scarcity of water means animals disperse. During these times, there are still a range of experiences to enjoy, including Bushman encounters, day trips to remote salt pans and guided walks. Safaris in the emerald though are absolutely superb, with a massive concentration of wildlife that becomes comparable with northern Botswana. Animals arrive en masse, attracted by the lush grasses and brimming water holes generated by the rains. The predator presence is striking, with lions, cheetah and leopard all following migrating zebra and antelope that arrive for plentiful grazing and water. During the emerald season, wildlife lovers can combine the Central Kalahari with the Delta for an enticing diversity of experiences and game. Overall, while Botswana has more renowned safari destinations with greater concentrations of animals, there is nowhere else that offers the unique attractions of the Central Kalahari in the early months of the year.