Travel to Central Kalahari Region

Central Kalahari Region

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is one of the largest protected areas in Africa. The concession is located in its northern plains where the landscape and topography comprises flat grasslands and undulating vegetated dunes teeming at times with a multitude of antelope species and large predators. This area is characterized by vast open grassy plains, seasonal pans, wooded acacia islands, prehistoric scrub-covered dunes and fossil riverbeds.

As a result of this diversity of habitats, healthy game populations move seasonally between dune and valley, depending on the season. It is also known to hold significant populations of large predators such as lion, cheetah and brown hyaena.

Aside from the enormous plain in front of camp, other prime wildlife viewing areas include places with evocative names such as Deception Valley and Sunday Pan. The former is all that remains of an ancient riverbed which today is an 80km-long gentle valley floor covered with short palatable grasses interspersed with picturesque tree islands. The name ‘Deception’ is derived from the mirage effect caused by the dry surface of the pan halfway along its length which often appears misleadingly full of water.

During the summer months, after much-needed rains, the area where Kalahari Plains is situated is characterized by lush green landscapes, floral displays and pans that fill with water. At this time of year these verdant flatlands are alive with aggregations of gemsbok, springbok and blue wildebeest. As a result of these numbers, predator concentrations are also high and sightings of the almost mythical black-maned Kalahari lion are complemented by some of the best cheetah viewing in Africa. Black-backed jackal and bat-eared fox also occur, with wild dog and leopard seen on occasion. Other mammal possibilities include steenbok, red hartebeest, giraffe and the charismatic ground squirrels and meerkats (suricates).

In the winter months, the Kalahari is more typically a desert-type system: warm and dry. Game viewing remains productive and moves into the vegetated dunal belt and pan systems surrounding the valleys; a series of ecologically placed waterholes further enhance wildlife viewing.


Botswana is one of the touristic jewels of Africa.  In addition to an abundance of natural beauty, shortly after achieving democratic rule from the British in 1966, three of the world’s richest diamond-bearing formations were discovered there. This has led to a high standard of economic stability, education and health care. Despite this, much of the country remains remote - a destination for the intrepid and relatively high end traveler.


The term “Batswana” refers to the ethnic group of people who speak the Setswana language and share the Sotho-Tswana culture, while in its common contemporary usage, it refers to all citizens of the Republic of Botswana, regardless of their ethnic background. The singular is “Motswana”: a citizen of the country. “Tswana” is used as an adjective - for example “Tswana state” or “Tswana culture”.


The national language is Setswana however the official language is English.


Batswana, a term also used to denote all citizens of Botswana, refers to the country’s major ethnic group (the “Tswana” in South Africa), which came into the area from South Africa during the Zulu wars of the early 1800s. Prior to European contact, the Batswana lived as herders and farmers under tribal rule.

In the 19th century, hostilities broke out between the Batswana and Boer settlers from the Transvaal. After appeals by the Batswana for assistance, the British Government in 1885 put “Bechuanaland” under its protection. The northern territory remained under direct administration and is today’s Botswana, while the southern territory became part of the Cape Colony and is now part of the northwest province of South Africa; the majority of Setswana-speaking people today live in South Africa.

In June 1964, Britain accepted proposals for democratic self-government in Botswana. The seat of government was moved from Mafikeng, in South Africa, to newly-established Gaborone in 1965. The 1965 constitution led to the first general elections and to independence in September 1966. General elections serve to elect members of parliament, and the presidential candidate from the party that wins the most seats in the general election becomes the president. Seretse Khama, a leader in the independence movement and the legitimate claimant to traditional rule of the Bamangwato, became the country’s first president, was re-elected twice, and died in office in 1980. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Ketumile Masire, who was elected in his own right in 1984 and re-elected in 1989 and 1994. Masire retired from office in 1998. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Festus Mogae, who was elected in his own right in 1999. Mogae won a second term in elections held October 30, 2004 and stepped down in accordance with national term limits on March 31, 2008. On April 1, 2008 former Vice President Ian Khama assumed the presidency. Khama was elected as President in his own right during the general election held on October 16, 2009.

Travel Guide


The currency in Botswana is the Pula (P) which is made up of 100 Thebe.  Pula means ‘rain’ in Setswana while thebe means ‘shield’ in Setswana.

Time Difference

9 hours ahead of Los Angeles
6 hours ahead of New York

Best Time to Travel

Game viewing is at its peak during the dry winter months of May to October when animals reliably concentrate at year round water sources. In particular, many experts regard the cooler months of June to August as the best time of year for a Botswana safari - the game viewing is consistently excellent, there’s virtually no rain and the weather is comfortable.  Prices are at their highest during these prime months.
Wildlife disperses and becomes harder to locate when the rains begin in January through April. However, several destinations such as Chobe’s Savute region and the Kalahari offer excellent game viewing at this time. One reason is that they lie on the path of migrating animals – such as zebra.
A year-round birding destination, bird watchers will find the migrant-filled summer months of the rainy season the best time to visit Botswana for both numbers and diversity of species.
December is a particularly good month as many antelope give birth then which means more predators come around to hunt.


Summer is from November to the end of March and usually brings very high temperatures. It is also the rainy season and cloud coverage and rain can cool things down, although only usually for a short period of time.
The winter season begins in May and ends in August. This is also the dry season when virtually no rainfall occurs. Winter days are invariably sunny and cool to warm; however, evening and night temperatures can drop below freezing point in some areas.
The in-between periods - April/early May and September/October - still tend to be dry, but the days are cooler than in summer and the nights are warmer than in winter.
Summers (particularly from December through to February) can become exceptionally hot, and rain may make some roads muddy and impassable.

What to Wear

Layers are best - you will be in open, moving vehicles before sunrise and after sunset, so even in summer it will be cool. Jackets, caps and gloves also recommended year round.

Health Requirements

No vaccinations or medications are currently required for entry to Botswana from the United States.

Africa Answers is unable to give personalized medical advice and requests that travelers contact their travel clinic regarding recommended medications.

Visa Requirements

A passport with at least six months of validity remaining is required. U.S. citizens are permitted stays up to 90 days total within a 12 month period without a visa. Passports must have 2 blank visa pages available.

Starting 1 June, 2017, a tourism levy of $30 US will be collected at all land border points and airports into Botswana by cash, debit or credit card.

Tipping & Porterage

Tipping guidelines will be issued with final documents.

Credit Cards

International Visa and MasterCard are usually accepted throughout Botswana but American Express and Diners Club are often not accepted.

Electrical Appliances

220-240 volts AC, 50Hz.


The country’s tap water is safe to drink. Most supermarkets, shops, camps and lodges also have bottled water available. When road traveling it is recommended to carry sufficient water at all times.


Explore the rest of our Botswana destinations:


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