Kalahari Safari

Why Go

Visit the Botswana’s Kalahari reserves

Travel to the Kalahari for one of the biggest safari secrets in Africa. Far from being an empty desert, Botswana’s Kalahari is home to a rich mix of birds and animals and offers some of the best game viewing in the country. It’s a place of big cats and wild dogs, meerkats and springboks as well as zebra migrations and great bird watching.

It’s easy to visit too. Botswana’s Kalahari reserves are just an hour’s flight from Maun airport and the Okavango Delta. Safari lodges are tucked away – often in exclusive-use concessions – and offer plenty of comfort. Activities range from game drives and stargazing to nature walks, quad-biking and horseback safaris. You can also experience the Kalahari on a guided overland safari, staying in tented camps and enjoying the camaraderie of the campfire.

A Kalahari safari is best combined with Botswana’s more famous wildlife destinations: the Okavango Delta/Moremi and the Chobe National Park. These itineraries mix familiar animals such as elephant, buffalo and hippo with desert specialists such as gemsbok antelope – and the predator count will be high. It’s usually enough to visit just one of Botswana’s three Kalahari reserves but keen safari travellers and wildlife photographers may want a taste of each.

Nxai Pan National Park is the smallest reserve. It has savannah and desert animals, good predators, and its summer greenery even attracts elephants and buffalo. The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park lies around enormous salt pans and offers open grassland habitats as well as seasonal rivers. It’s great for summer game viewing and birding. The enormous Central Kalahari Game Reserve is equally good in summer (springbok birthing season) and has a well-deserved reputation for big cats. It’s also a great dry-season destination thanks to its permanent waterholes.

A safe and beautiful destination to visit, the Kalahari has broad appeal. It is virtually malaria-free and sits under warm, dry and sunny skies for most of the year. Several lodges welcome families with children while others are honeymoon-favourites. Browse our recommended Kalahari safari tours and accommodation or simply contact us for more information and advice.

Kalahari Safari on the map

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Top Experiences


1. Go on a Game Drive

Led by sharp-eyed guides, morning & afternoon drives in open 4X4s are the best way to see the Kalahari’s animals. Lodges on private concessions offer spot-lit night drives too, the best way to spot nocturnal ‘specials’ like brown hyena, aardwolf & porcupine.

2. Meet the Meerkats

Botswana’s Kalahari is the best place to see meerkats – you may even find yourself used as an observation tower by them! Ask us about accommodation with habituated meerkat families – an unforgettable treat for children.

3. Track Big Cats

Teeming with animals from gerbils to giraffes, the Kalahari is classic cat country. It’s Botswana’s best place for cheetah, home to impressively sized lions plus leopards & smaller felines – caracal & wild cat.

4. Walk with the San

Several lodges offer opportunities to meet local guides from the Kalahari’s indigenous San Bushman communities. They’ll open up the secrets of this harsh-looking but surprisingly bountiful landscape.

5. Discover the Migration

Drawn to the Kalahari for its green, well-watered summer, zebra herds attract big cats & wild dogs. Stay at lodges around the Makgadikgadi Pans for the best locations.

6. Explore on Horseback

Now you can explore this wild, unspoilt area in the same way many of the earliest explorers, hunters and missionaries did – on horseback! We’ll tell you the best places to saddle up.

7. Go Bird Watching

There’s enough all year to keep the average bird watcher happy but serious birders should visit in summer when many migrant species arrive. Good rains bring pelicans & flamingos to the Makgadikgadi Pans.

8. Ride a Quad Bike

An epic quad bike journey across the pans to Kubu Island. Sleep under the stars on an ancient granite island in the middle of the vast Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.the Ultimate in Real adventure, Unreal Style!

Botswana Tailor-made

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