The Central Kalahari in Botswana is a place of legend and was once considered too out of the way for travellers. However, new developments, this fascinating and remoteregion is now within reach of anybody who is interested in exploring our world.
By Leigh Kemp
Land of Myths and Legends
The land that is Botswana's Kalahari Desert was once part of a great inland lake that slowly started to dry up as the environment changed. The mighty Zambezi River once flowed into the lake
, before changing its course towards the Indian Ocean, and the Okavango Delta is the shrinking remnant of this once all-encompassing waterway.
Other dominant physical features of the lake include the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, the largest in the world, and Lake Ngami.
The Kalahari has played a huge role in legend
and most of the early missionaries and explorers mention the name somewhere in their memoirs. My earliest thought on the Kalahari were based on information I had read in the countless books in my mother's extensive library.
Find Your Soul in the Deep Kalahari
In the early 1990's the road from Nata to Maun was nothing more than a water-hardened sandpit, broken to soft dusty powder in places
. The 300 km drive could take up to five hours, depending on the vehicle, but with the upgrade of the road the frontier town of Maun was linked to the outside world, and change came quickly to the region. And the Central Kalahari became more accessible.
The journey to the Central Kalahari
leads from the paved Nata Maun road to the village of Makalamabedi from where it runs to parallel to a veterinary fence until it reaches the northern boundary of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve at the infamous Khuki Corner. It is here where tens of thousands of wildebeest died when they piled up against the newly erected fence during the migration to the waters of the north.
Ranging from bad to appalling, the road can only be only attempted by sturdy 4 x 4 vehicles,
and includes a 75 km section along a perfectly straight section of the fence. After checking in at the game scout camp there is still a lengthy drive, the distance depending on which camp site has been allocated.
In the past there were no designated camp sites and visitors could camp at any chosen spot but with the rise in visitor numbers the authorities decided on the permanent camp sites.
A Place Like No Other
No matter what time of the year a sense of excitement builds up in visitors as they travel through the landscape towards Deception Valley
and beyond, for here is a place like no other, and a place that will certainly provide endless memories. There are few experiences as rewarding as a night around a campfire under the stars of the Kalahari.
Journey Through Botswana SeriesBotswana JourneyChobe River JourneyKalahari JourneyMaun JourneyMoremi JourneyOkavango Delta JourneySavuti & Linyanti Journey