The immediate impression of unending space and having the entire reserve to yourself, is the appeal of the Kalahari Desert. Nothing prepares you for the immensity of this reserve, nor its wild, mysterious beauty.
Waist-high golden grasses seem to stretch interminably, punctuated by dwarfed trees and scrub bushes. Wide and empty pans appear as vast white stretches of saucer-flat earth, meeting a soft, blue-white sky. At night the stars utterly dominate the land; their brilliance and immediacy are totally arresting.The landscape is dominated by silver terminalia sandveldt, Kalahari sand acacias, and Kalahari appleleaf, interspersed with grasslands, and dotted with occasional sand dunes, pans and shallow fossil river valleys.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is the largest, most remotely situated reserve in southern Africa, and the second largest wildlife reserve in the world, encompassing 52 800 sq kms.
CKGR is unique in that it was originally established (in 1961) with the intention of serving as a place of sanctuary for the San, in the heart of the Kalahari (and Botswana), where they could live their traditional hunter/ gatherer way of life, without intrusion, or influence, from the outside world. The reserve was closed for about 30 years, until in the 1980s and 1990s, both self-drive and organised tours were allowed in, albeit in small, tightly controlled numbers.