Botswana :: Central Kalahari
Category: Places :: Travel Region
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PERHAPS ONE OF THE MOST challenging areas to visit in Botswana, the Central Kalahari region is also,
in its own quiet way, one of the most rewarding. But make no mistake, here you need to be completely self-sufficient and
experienced, so it’s not a destination for your first overland trip.
The primary attraction in this region is the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). Covering an area of 52 800 km, it’s
said to be the second largest game reserve in the world. While there are a few luxuriously-appointed lodges in the reserve,
its campsites are - for the most part - unfenced and undeveloped, offering just a pit toilet and shower enclosure
with a hanging bucket (bring your own water). Lions have been known to wander into these enclosures. No jokes!
In keeping with the spirit of this place, the best time to visit is when conditions can be particularly challenging. January to
April sees the end of the rainy season which means good grazing for the plains animals in the reserve’s northern reaches
- and lots of opportunities for the predators that dine on them. But at this time, you’re more likely to get stuck so it’s best
to travel in a convoy of at least two vehicles. If you’re less confident of your driving ability or wish to travel solo, consider
a visit in the dry season, from April to September. Just remember that towards the end of the year you’ll be dealing with
very high temperatures in the day and freezing temperatures at night. The upside is that with less vegetation around, you
might see more wildlife.
The area is characterised by immense grasslands interspersed with bush and trees like the Kalahari sand acacia and Kalahari
appleleaf. You’ll also find vast, white pans, sand dunes and shallow, fossilized river valleys. All in all, a soul-soothing
combination of natural beauty.
THE SAN (aka Bushmen) The CKGR was established in the 60s with the intention of being a sanctuary for the San people
who have lived here for thousands of years, a place where they could maintain their hunter gatherer traditions. But in
recent decades the Botswana government began forced relocations of the San into settlement camps outside the park.
Today, only a few hundred San remain in the park.
KHUTSE GAME RESERVE was established in 1971 and covers an area of 2 500 km2. But these days it’s officially part of the CKGR - there are no fences between the two - forming its southern border.
THE HAINAVELD GAME FARMS is a huge private conservation area adjacent to the northern border of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. It offers luxury accommodation as well as camping facilities at various venues.
DECEPTION VALLEY in the northern reaches of the CKGR is one of the park’s better known attractions and one of the most visited. It’s an 80 kilometre long valley (an ancient river course) running roughly north-south. Its name stems from the blue-grey clay of one of its pans which often appears to be full of water when actually bone dry. Deception Valley Lodge is an owner-run venue in the area which offers very popular walks with the San.
|Address :||Central Kalahari, Botswana|
|Contact :||Botswana Tourism|
|Tel :||+267 39 131 11|
|Fax :||+267 395 9220|
|Email :||Click Here|
|Host Website :||Click Here|
|Facilities :||Lodging, Camping, Airstrip|
|Game Viewing, Game Drives, Quad Bikes, 4WD Trails, Hiking Trails, Guided Walks, Mountain Biking, Golf, Fishing, Swimming, Canoeing, Bird Watching, Photography|
|Game to View :||Gemsbok. Springbok. Wildebeest. Hartebeest. Eland. Giraffe.|
Drivers licenses must be carried with you at all times, as well as your passport. Drivers licenses from neighbouring countries are acceptable. If the license is not written in English, a certified English translation letter must accompany your drivers license.
It is advisable to buy food in Botswana, it is cheaper.
There is a new Spar in Maun which is recommended for buying meat, or Sandy's Butchery in Palapye or try in Serowe.
Diesel - 500ppm was available at all filling stations on a trip reported in June 2012.
If you are travelling from a yellow fever infected area to Botswana, a valid Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required. No further immunisations are required. However, it is advisable to consider to have an updated TPD (tetanus, polio, diphtheria) vaccine and a Hepatitis A vaccine.
Certain consumer goods may be imported for private use without an import permit, provided they do not exceed the maximum allowable quantities. Eg. Meat, dairy, maize, wheat etc.
The regulations on importing meat products change frequently, as they are based on disease outbreaks in different countries.
Find out from customs when arriving or beforehand, on what the specific regulations are. A recent ban was placed on importing fresh produce from various areas in South Africa, due to the Asian Fruit Fly. This can cause major problems with supermarkets in that they have to find other suppliers if a ban is placed on South African fresh produce.
There are also certain duty-free allowances.
Then there are restricted goods that can only be imported with a license or permit like narcotics, firearms etc. (05-Oct-11).
Refer to the Botswana Tourism site, there is a wealth of visitors information there.
From the Maun DWNP office: They don't know if and what the increase in Botswana park fees will be, but every booking and entrance fee paid NOW will be honoured by the department, even if the prices are increased this year. However, the DWNP is not accepting 2013 entry payments yet. (25-Jan-2012).
Heavy rains were reported in this area in April 2015.
Watch out for donkey carts and animals, and even Elephants on the stretch east of Maun. (Dec-13).
Visitors from most European countries don't require visas, but rather check with Botswana embassies or travel agents beforehand.
Visitors to this region should be self-contained with all fuel, food and water, they should only travel in a group of two or more vehicles with basic spares and survival aids.
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