The Central Kalahari game Reserve (CKGR) is the largest, most remotely situated reserve in Southern Africa, and the second largest wildlife reserve in the world, covering 52 800 sq kms. Waist-high golden grasses seem to stretch interminably, punctuated by 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; their brilliance and immediacy are totally arresting.
During and shortly after good summer rains (in November to March), the flat grasslands of the reserve’s northern reaches teem with wildlife, which gather at the best grazing areas. These include large herds of springbok and gemsbok, as well as wildebeest, hartebeest, eland and giraffe, and attendant predators.
The landscape is dominated by silver terminalia sandveld, Kalahari sand acacias, and Kalahari appleleaf, interspersed with grasslands, and dotted with occasional sand dunes, pans and shallow fossil river valleys. The 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, where they could live their traditional hunter/ gatherer way of life, without intrusion, or influence, from the outside world. The reserve was closed for about 30 years, until in the 1980s and 1990s, both self-drive and organised tours were allowed in, albeit in small, tightly controlled numbers.
Today there are still only a handful of lodges in the area: Kalahari Plains Camp, and Tau Pan Camp, Just outside the reserve is Deception Valley Lodge and Haina Kalahari Safari Lodge in it's own 11,000-hectare private reserve, home to a wide range of antelope species, cheetah, leopard, and the majestic black-maned Kalahari lions. Haina has very good game viewing even in the dry season.