Popular tours and itineraries including The Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert


Though not technically a desert, the Kalahari sure looks like one: sun-baked scrub, scorched sands, bone-dry salt pans, lonely thorn trees and fossilised riverbeds.  Stretching 900,000km² from South Africa’s extreme north-east into Namibia and Botswana, it’s also one of Earth’s last proper wildernesses, a place of big skies and horizon-less lands, a place far from anywhere.  However, despite such stark geography, animals thrive here: blue wildebeest, meerkats, leopards, black-maned lions and hundreds of cheetahs all call the Kalahari home.  And, with the desert so far off most major routes, you’ll have them all largely to yourself.


Within South Africa’s slice of the Kalahari, there are two main options for visitors.  Atop the country is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park – shared with Botswana, and the world's first-ever cross-border park.  Along with basic rest camps, there are ‘six wilderness camps’ ranging in comfort – including one, !Xaus Lodge, staffed by the park’s historical occupants, the indigenous Bushmen.  Each occupies a scenic spot and asks that guests bring their own supplies.  Much more luxurious is the conservation-minded Tswalu Kalahari to the south.  South Africa’s largest private game reserve now protects over 70 mammals within its spectacular grasslands and hills, and allows only 30 guests at a time.

Getting There

Driving to the Kalahari is epic in itself, a long slog down dusty roads with gravel stretches.  Tswalu is accessed off the R31 north of Kuruman; that goes onto the Kgalagadi, as does the R360 from Upington.  If you come from Cape Town, the Riemvasmaak Conservancy Community’s canyons, strange rock formations and hot springs are well worth inspecting.

Best Time To Visit

The Kalahari has extreme desert temperatures.  Rainfall in the region is only 50mm annually and usually arrives in dramatic but brief summer thunderstorms.  Temperatures can top 40°C during summer days.  While prone to chilly nights, winter is much easier here.





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Note that the online map offers both a satellite view (click satellite in the top right) and, for some locations, a street level view (Drag the person in the top left onto the map). These let you explore the country; and when you wish to explore in person, or if you have any questions about the places you see, give our staff a call, or request a quote. Our staff regularly visit the places and accommodation that we feature.

When you book a holiday with us we will provide full driving instructions for reaching your accommodation, where necessary; these can be used by yourself, or you could enjoy the luxury of a driver. Alternatively we will arrange private (car rather than coach) transfers for you; helicopter transfers are also possible for some destinations.


Constantia Valley, Cape Town, South Africa

The most wonderful holiday

I have just had the most wonderful holiday in South Africa. Made so special by our agent Ash, who not only went that extra mile for us but I also felt she had our best interests in mind at all times. Her advise was absolutely Spot On when interpreting our requirements. Each hotel was both varied and amazing. Her communication …


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