Central Kalahari Safaris in Botswana
Botswana Safaris in the Central Kalahari
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The Central Kalahari - Safaris in Botswana
The diverse and productive Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) offers some of the best summer wildlife viewing opportunities in Africa. Located in the Kalahari Desert biome in the central part of Botswana, this reserve is the largest conservation area in the country at 52,800 square kilometres (5 million hectares), making it one of the largest in the world.
Thanks to the diversity of habitats, healthy game populations move through the area and are present to a greater or lesser degree all year round, but with the advent of the summer rains (end of November to April) the desert truly comes to life. Short grasses sprout in the pan systems and fossil riverbeds. Plains game such as springbok, gemsbok and wildebeest converge in their hundreds and thousands to feed. This attracts predators such as the renowned Kalahari black-maned lion and cheetah - which provide some of the most thrilling hunts to be seen. The rainstorms during the summer months are frequent, but short-lived and their cloud formations are spectacular.
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.
Healthy game populations move seasonally between dune and valley. During the rainy summer months the northern part of the CKGR offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Botswana. The abundance of predators and their prey is perfectly complemented with lush green landscapes, floral displays and beautiful skies. At this time of year these verdant flatlands are alive with aggregations of gemsbok, springbok and blue wildebeest. These aggregations of herbivores on the fossil riverbeds result in unusually high predator concentrations: with both Kalahari black-maned lions and cheetah featuring heavily in guest experiences. Wild dog an The reserve is also one of the best places to see honey badgers.
In the winter months, the atmosphere is typical of a desert system: warm and dry. Game viewing remains productive, the wildlife having moved into the vegetated dunal belt and pan systems surrounding the valleys. A series of ecologically placed waterholes further enhances wildlife viewing during the dry season.
The bird life in the reserve is diverse, with over 220 species recorded to date. There are significant healthy populations of regionally threatened species, like Kori Bustard and Lappet-faced Vulture. Birders will particularly enjoy the opportunity to see a variety of arid-west endemic species such as Burchell's Sandgrouse, Grey-backed Sparrowlark, Kalahari Scrub-Robin and African Wren-Warbler. The vivid colors of birds such as Crimson-breasted Shrike and Violet-eared Waxbill often provide a startling contrast to the sometimes stark surroundings and incredible photographic opportunities. Finally , there is no better place in Africa to see Pale Chanting Goshawk and Northern Black Korhaan, which seem to occur around every corner.
Conservation and Tourism in Botswana
The National Parks and Reserves in Botswana are a haven for wildlife and photographic safaris. Outside of the sanctuary of the reserves, Botswana is divided into parcels of land commonly referred to as concessions. Those in the Ngamiland District, which inlcudes the Okavango Delta and Linyanti / Selinda reserves, are identified by codes beginning with 'NG' and numbered NG1 to NG51. Read more...
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