The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is the largest most remotely situated game reserve in Southern Africa and second largest in the world. Totalling 52,800sq KMS it is 1/11th of Botswana’s total land area (size of Massachusetts). CKGR is unique in that it was originally established (in 1961) with the intention of serving as a place of sanctuary for the San, in the heart of the Kalahari (and Botswana), where they could live their traditional hunter/ gatherer way of life, without intrusion, or influence, from the outside world.
The northern deception valley is one of the highlights, principally because of the dense concentrations of herbivores its sweet grasses attract during and after the rainy season (and of course the accompanying predators).
The landscape is dominated by silver Terminalia sand veldt, acacia sp. scrubland, and Kalahari apple leaf, interspersed with grasslands, and dotted with occasional sand dunes, pans and shallow fossil river valleys. Waist-high golden grasses seem to stretch interminably, punctuated by dwarfed trees and scrub bushes. Wide and empty pans appear as vast white stretches of saucer-flat earth, meeting a soft, blue-white sky. At night the stars utterly dominate the land.
The CKGR produces excellent predator densities and is one of the best places in Botswana to see cheetah. It is also well known for the magnificent black-maned lions.
Found here as well, is the brown hyena, wild dog, leopard, eland (Africa’s largest antelope), honey badger, wildebeest, jackal and caracal. Herds of gemsbok, springbok and wildebeest gather on the flat grasslands after the summer rain. At other times of the year, when the animals are more sparsely distributed, the experience of travelling through truly untouched wilderness, of seemingly unending dimensions, is the draw.