The Central Kalahari Game Reserve lies in the middle of Botswana, covers a 52,800 square kilometres expanse of land making it the 2nd largest game reserve in the world, an area larger than Switzerland. Originally promulgated in 1961 by Alec Campbell, the first senior game warden of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, as a bushman conservancy. As well as this fas- cinating story of the Bushmen the CKGR also boasts a phenomenal wildlife area, especially during and after the rains that arrive each year in November which transforms the area into one that rivals the open plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania.
What makes the Central Kalahari amazing is the fossilized rivers that run for miles through the park. The environment in the 2 km wide fossil rivers is that of salt pans, small islands of acacia surrounded by shortly cropped sweet green nutritious grasses that grow quickly after the rains and attract animals from all over the area. Often spotted are playful Bat Eared foxes, hunting and scampering around the fossil river beds and watching out for one of their top predators in the area which is strangely the leopard. The CKGR is one of the best places to find honey badgers which can be located by carefully watching local pale chanting goshawks behavior.
The sheer number of plains game is breathtaking! Springbok numbers into their thousands snorting at the first sign of a cheetah, gemsbok can be seen forming a group and chasing oﬀ lions, giraﬀe congregate under the watchful eye of a family of jackals and signs of brown hyena are everywhere. The evening thunderstorms and flush of green grass during and after the rains turn this desert into a truly remarkable area for bird watching, game viewing and photography.
The CKGR is currently the focus of many doctoral theses as the required deeper understanding of this area attracts more attention with the ultimate goal to re-establish the ancient wildebeest and hartebeest migratory routes that would make today’s plains game numbers in East Africa pale in comparison.