The Kalahari Desert is an extraordinary wildlife area and offers completely contrasting scenery to the Okavango Delta. Where the Delta is watery, winding and magical the Kalahari is dry, vast and captivatingly mysterious. To the north east of the Kalahari lies a relic of one of the world’s largest super-lakes; the Makgadikgadi Pans. Eerie, wild and with boundless activity opportunities these barren and enticing lands offer a truly singular safari experience.
Across the Kalahari, there are masses of giraffe, antelope, gemsbok and springbok; and it is the only place in Africa where you are more or less guaranteed to see the rare and elusive brown hyena. The birds include desert species and it is fascinating to learn how each species of flora and fauna survives in the harsh desert environment. There are also the meerkats: you can walk with a habituated group of meerkats which is always hugely popular with children and adults alike.
A safari to Camp Kalahari and sister camps Jack’s and San is a complete desert experience focusing on species unique to the area such as aardvark, gemsbok, springbok, meerkats and brown hyena. Although Makgadikgadi has phenomenal wildlife year-round, a seriously special time to be there is from January to April, which sees a flurry of dust and stripes as the zebra migration makes its way through the pans in search of fresh grazing.
When the Makgadikgadi lake was formed, some five to seven million years ago, its shores were the setting for the mysterious transition from ape to man. The area, as well as being one of Africa’s most unique wildlife areas with vast, endless horizons and arid flat plains, has a palpable atmosphere of mystery and wonder which harks back to a time long ago. The huge starry skies only amplify this feeling of being completely alone in one of the harshest areas of the continent.
Venturing far into the centre of the Makgadikgadi, visitors can explore remote archaeological sites, periodically discovering never before documented fossil beds of extinct giant zebra and hippo. The fact that you can travel across the pans and still arrive nowhere only underlines the pans’ immensity.
Experience the beauty of this magical area with spectacular scenery and desert wildlife. Quad bike into the middle of the largest pans on earth: the quad bikes leave no marks so they are perfect for driving right into the middle of the pans. You can also search for 40,000 year old stone age tools or explore the area by 4×4 safari vehicle or on foot; whatever you do, the area is fascinating. The bushmen particularly enjoy walking with guests explaining how they use plants and live in the desert, explaining their survival skills.
Horse riding is also an option and would need to be booked in advance and it is certainly not for novices.
Botswana is a veritable Land of Plenty but also a country of contrasts: from the lush greens and blues of the Okavango Delta, with its thick vegetation and gleamingly healthy wildlife, to the haunting and eerie Kalahari desert, home to bushmen. With the right itinerary design, game viewing in Botswana can be outstanding.
Botswana is a veritable Land of Plenty but also a country of contrasts: from the lush greens and blues of the Okavango Delta, with its thick vegetation and gleamingly healthy wildlife, to the haunting and eerie Kalahari desert, home to bushmen.
The Okavango Delta is a watery paradise filled with great diversity; islands, tree-lines, river bends and waterholes form the evolution of this dynamic ecosystem.
The Selinda Reserve of northern Botswana, is west from Savuti and Chobe National Park, so it has all the advantages of both of those famous areas but with the tremendous benefit of exclusivity.