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, at 5 million hectares this reserve is the largest conservation area in the country and 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 Camp is perfectly situated overlooking an immense pan with endless horizons and beautiful skies. 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.
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.
Kalahari Plains Camp 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.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is one of the largest protected areas in Africa. Our concession is located in its northern plains where the landscape and topography comprises flat grasslands and undulating vegetated dunes teeming at times with a multitude of antelope species and large predators. This area is characterised by vast open grassy plains, seasonal pans, wooded acacia islands, prehistoric scrub-covered dunes and fossil riverbeds.
As a result of this diversity of habitats, healthy game populations move seasonally between dune and valley, depending on the season. It is also known to hold significant populations of large predators such as lion, cheetah and brown hyaena.
Aside from the enormous plain in front of camp, other 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.
During the summer months, after much-needed rains, the area where Kalahari Plains is situated is characterised by lush green landscapes, floral displays and pans that fill with water. At this time of year these verdant flatlands are alive with aggregations of gemsbok, springbok and blue wildebeest. As a result of these numbers, predator concentrations are also high and sightings of the almost mythical black-maned Kalahari lion are complemented by some of the best cheetah viewing in Africa. Black-backed jackal and bat-eared fox also occur, with wild dog and leopard seen on occasion. Other mammal possibilities include steenbok, red hartebeest, giraffe 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 lion, 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 such as Kori Bustard and Lappet-faced Vulture, as well as a variety of arid-west endemic species like Burchell's Sandgrouse, Grey-backed Sparrowlark, Kalahari Scrub-Robin and African Wren-Warbler. The vivid colours of Crimson-breasted Shrike and Violet-eared Waxbill provide a startling contrast to the sometimes stark surroundings.