Experience the rugged beauty of the Kalahari Desert: the vast expanses, wide open sky spattered with more stars than you could imagine, and the silence. The Kalahari Desert is sparsely populated and huge - it crosses the borders of several countries. Contrast your visit to the Kalahari with a visit to the lush and green Okavango Delta, and each enhances the beauty of the other.
The Kalahari Desert is a vast expanse, crossing the borders of multiple
Southern African countries including Angola, Namibia, the DRC, Botswana,
Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. A visit to the Kalahari is
recommended mainly for seasoned travellers to Africa - people who've
already fallen in love with the rugged wild, with the wide expanses and
amazing scenery. Due to its arid nature, you won't see wildlife in great
numbers, as you will in Chobe and the Delta, but if your desire is to
get as far from civilisation as possible, to experience wild heart of
Africa, then a trip to the Kalahari may be just what you are looking
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (the CKGR) is the most
commonly visited area of the desert, with most visits centered around
the Northern part of the park, where there is a little more variation in
vegetation and scenery due to the salt pans found there, including the
Letiahau Pan and Piper Pans, where water is pumped in by the park.
At one time, the San people populated most of Southern Africa in high
numbers. Then, over centuries, the Bantu Migration occurred: the
migration of people who spoke Bantu languages from Western Africa and
spreading down through Southern Africa, starting in about 1700BCE and
continuing until the beginning of European colonisation. As the Bantu
peoples grew in numbers, the numbers of the San people diminished, as
their villages were either engulfed by the Bantu, or were forced ever
deeper and deeper into the wilderness to maintain their hunter-gatherer
way of life.
The CKGR was originally established shortly before
Independence as a means of protecting the lands of the San people from
development, and the destruction of their hunter-gatherer way of life
and the culture that comes with it. It was established as a Game Reserve
so that the San people would not be set apart, and division along
racial lines would not be encouraged. This has made the legislation and
culture around the CKGR complicated, as the people it was originally
meant to protect have at times been 'resettled' outside of the Park. It
is only in recent years that tourists have been allowed to visit this
park, and they do so in small numbers, making the CKGR about as
untouched as a wilderness can get.
In the summer, the temperatures in the Kalahari soar to over 40º, and
with an average annual rainfall of less than 100mm, sometimes much less,
there is not much to break the heat of the day. When it does rain, it
rains a huge amount in a short time, transforming the dry and arid
desert into a blooming green oasis almost before your eyes.
the winter months, daytime temperatures reach around 25º, and the nights
are bitterly cold, often below 0ºC. This is the best time for game
viewing, as the animals gather at water sources to drink.