Kalahari Plains Camp
Central Kalahari, Botswana
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KALAHARI PLAINS CAMP RATES: Kalahari Plains Camp
KALAHARI PLAINS CAMP - CENTRAL
Kalahari Plains Camp is situated in a remote part of the diverse and productive Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) and 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 this country and at 5 million hectares (12 million acres), one of the largest in the world. The CKGR is home to the legendary Kalahari black-maned lion as well as some of the world's best cheetah viewing.
Kalahari Plains is easily combined with the Okavango Delta and Linyanti regions to provide a comprehensive Botswana experience - and in summer it is simply unbeatable as a wildlife destination.
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Kalahari Plains Camp is perfectly situated overlooking an immense pan with endless horizons and beautiful skies. The camp comprises 10 en-suite canvas units with a sleep-out above each from which to enjoy moonlit or star-studded nights. The main area consists of a lounge and dining area with an inviting swimming pool and deck area. The tents and main area are all raised off the ground to catch the breeze and take in the sweeping, spacious views across the Kalahari. Solar power provides all the electricity and hot water in the camp - making Kalahari Plains a 100% solar-powered camp - and innovative insulated canvas walls and roof keep the temperatures inside the units comfortable.
Guided game drives unlock the fascinating wildlife treasures found in this wonderful arid area. Visits to Deception Valley or even further afield are longer excursions that are well worthwhile, as the wildlife moves to different parts of the Park.
Please note: As the camp is within a National Park, we adhere to the regulations of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks regarding off-road driving, night driving and all other associated rules.
Various Bushmen clans have thrived in this area for centuries, and many of Kalahari Plains Camp's staff hail from this ancient people. The camp offers an interpretive "Bushman Walk" with a couple of our staff members, where guests gain life-changing insights into the unique culture of this fascinating people.
Wildlife and Habitat
Thanks to the diversity of habitats, healthy game populations move through the area and are present to a greater or lesser degree all year long. But it is the summer months (end-November to April) with the advent of their rains that the desert truly comes to life. Short grasses sprout in the pan systems and fossil riverbeds and plains game such as springbok, gemsbok and wildebeest converge in their hundreds and thousands here to feed. This of course attracts predators such as lion and cheetah; in fact the abundance of game at this time of the year also leads to thrilling lion and cheetah hunts to be seen.
The concession is located in the northern Kalahari plains of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) where broad-leaved and acacia savannah mosaics dominate the landscape. The CKGR is one of the biggest protected areas in Africa and holds significant populations of large predators such as lion, cheetah and brown hyaena.
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.
Within this massive Game Reserve and as a result of the diversity of habitats, healthy game populations move seasonally between dune and valley, depending on the season.
During the summer months, after the much-needed rains, the northern part of the CKGR, where Kalahari Plains is situated, offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Botswana. The abundance of herbivores 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. As a result of these aggregations on the fossil riverbeds, predator concentrations are also high and sightings of the almost mythical black-maned Kalahari lions are complemented with some of the best cheetah viewing in Africa. Wild dog and leopard are seen on occasion and black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox also occur. Other mammal possibilities include southern giraffe, steenbok, red hartebeest 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.
After sunset the Kalahari is alive with the sounds of roaring lions, White-faced Scops-Owls and the garrulous calls of barking geckos. The avifauna in the reserve is equally diverse with over 220 species recorded to date. There are significant healthy populations of regionally threatened species like Kori Bustard and Lappet-faced Vulture, but birders will 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 colours of birds such as Crimson-breasted Shrike and Violet-eared Waxbill provide a startling contrast to the sometimes stark surroundings.
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