Day 13-17: Botswana: Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR)

Distance travelled from home: 3 332 km

From Kang the route was towards Gantsi, and we turned off the tarred road onto the Vet fence cutline at 50 km from Kang. The cutline was as expected: thick sand, recessed due to being grated over many years, therefore we had no view onto the veld, and we had to concentrate to keep within the tracks.

Cutline along west side of CKGR

We averaged 30 km/hr and had to drive mostly in second and third gear. It was a long and uncomfortable stretch of road – 160 km on the cutline – more than 6 hours.

However, there were lots of steenbuck, kori bustard, ostrich, gemsbok, hartebeest and wildebeest on the cutline. Elephant spoor went on for more than 70 km right in the middle of the road.

When we turned onto the track from Gantsi toward the Xade Entrance gate, we hoped that the condition of the road would be better, but it was worse. Another 25 km of badly corrugated 4×4 track.

At the waterhole next to the air strip outside the gate, we found a large herd of gemsbok, some hartebeest and three elephants. The gemsbok and hartebeest stood still watching us, but the elephants were running away from us as fast as they could.

Xade entrance gate is obviously not used frequently. The officers are very friendly, and they told us that during the past few days only one vehicle had entered there.

We camped at Xad01(CKWil-01), approx 1km outside the gate, where hartebeest and ostrich were grazing nearby. (DWNP campsites at P30 pppn). The campsite is also rarely used, with an overgrown firepit, a nice shade tree and nothing else.

The second day we drove to the Deception | Kori area. A distance of 170 km. The first 30km was through dense growth where again we could not see into the veld along the road.

Then we reached the flat pan areas, where large herds of antelope grazed – springbuck, gemsbok, wildebeest, hartebeest.

Piper Pan water hole

We passed the Piper Pan campsites, which both are very nice campsites under huge trees with the typical ablutions of bucket shower, pit toilet and no water.

The Letiahau campsite is a small clearing with little shade and no ablutions – one of the camps managed by Bigfoot Tours at P250 pppn.

The Lekhubu campsite (CKWil-07) is also managed by Bigfoot Tours (P250 pppn). Two very small clearings within thick bush surroundings, no shade and nothing else. One cannot see danger (lion, leopard) until they are in the clearing.

There were large herds of antelope on the pans as far as we travelled. We also saw lots of vultures circling above at three different instances, secretary birds, birds of prey, kori bustards, and many, many small birds.

We camped at Kori-04 and really enjoyed it. Large open spaces, with the bucket shower and pit toilet available.

View from Kori 4

At Kori we saw other vehicles for the first time since entering the park.

We explored all the Kori and Deception Valley campsites and all have their bucket showers and pit toilets and all of them have shade trees with beautiful surrounding landscapes. CKKor-03 as well as CKKor-04 has some view onto the pan. The Deception valley campsites are into the more dense bush growth with no pans.

Our drive from Kori 2 to Passarge 3 was the most memorable of all. Just past Leopard Pan we saw a young female leopard and her cub in the road in front, but she quickly strolled into the dense bushes next to the road, and we only got a blurry photo.

The Passarge Valley is one pan linked to the next with huge herds of gemsbok and springbuck on all the pans. Really amazing.

And we saw a caracal walking next to the road, which is a rare sighting.

The CKPas-03 campsite has a nice shade tree and the normal bucket shower and pit toilet.

On the road from Passarge to Deception Valley two kudu cows jumped the road, and a fat warthog ran along, apart from the ever-present huge herds of gemsbok and springbuck.

On the last section to Matswere Gate the earlier presence of an elephant was visible.

We should have spent more days in this park, and would like to visit this park again. It is a beautiful park, and we really enjoyed the time spent here.

We have paid bookings for another two days, but had to leave early to get PCR Covid tests in Maun to enter Namibia on schedule.

Next: Maun, Spitzkuppe & Swakopmund….


  1. Dit is nou nie ‘n plek waar mens sulke groot troppe wild sou verwag nie, baie interresant. Ongelooflik om vir so lank die natuur net vir julle self te he.


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