ckgr-bigfoottours

Bigfoot manages and operates 41 campsites in Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) and Khutse Game reserve.
These game reserves were initially managed by the government and were only privatized in April 2009, and that’s when Bigfoot Tours took over.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

CKGR is the second largest game reserve in the world. Larger than Denmark or Switzerland, and bigger than Lesotho and Swaziland combined, the 52,800 km is situated right in the centre of Botswana, this reserve is characterised by saltpans and ancient riverbeds. Varying from sand dunes with many species of trees and shrubs in the north, to flat bushveld in the central area, the reserve is more heavily wooded in the south, with mophane forests to the south and east. Rainfall is sparse and sporadic and can vary from 170 to 700 mm per year.

Kalahari is the largest sand basin in the world, stretching 1,560 miles (2,500km) from the northern part of South Africa, through Namibia and Angola and ending in the DRC (Congo). It may have no permanent surface water, but unlike the image of most deserts, the Kalahari is well vegetated with a wide variety of habitats including acacia trees and areas of flat grasslands that seem to stretch forever.

The CKGR was originally created as a refuge for the San Bushmen – the inhabitants of the Kalahari for the past 30,000 years. They lived in nomadic hunter-gatherer family groups only taking what they needed to survive – which is an art form in the Kalahari. Their simple lifestyle became anathema to the sophisticated Europeans who colonized Southern Africa and the Bushmen found themselves the hunted rather than the hunter.

Bushmen survival became an issue in 1961 when Botswana was still a British Protectorate, and the CKGR was formed as their homeland. Most have now intermixed with other tribes such as the Bakgalagadi, and live in villages at the southern end of this reserve. Some of them their traditional lifestyle is gone but some bush survival knowledge is still passed down from generation to generation.

Safari lodges based in various parts of the Kalahari often hire people of Bushman origin to guide visitors into the desert and to impart their wisdom of how to survive. Often dressed in traditional animal skins and carrying a bow and arrow, they show you how to find water-filled tubers in the sand and explain how to catch an ostrich – which is no easy task! Bushmen are great storytellers and like nothing better than to embellish a tale with elaborate and hilarious demonstrations, accompanied by their fast and furious clicking language.

CKGR is the ultimate in ‘remote’ safari destinations. Its remoteness, unforgiving climate and harsh terrain have kept it pristine and only the fully self-sufficient traveler would venture into the reserve alone. Those that do are rewarded with untamed Africa at its best.

The Central Kalahari is probably at its most enticing when travelling it’s most difficult; that is in the first few months of the year. At this time, the beautiful inter-dune valleys become lush with vegetation, attracting thousands of springbok and gemsbok. You’ll also find good numbers of ostrich and giraffe, herds of wildebeest, excellent cheetah and the Kalahari’s famous black-manned lions. Leopard and brown hyena are common residents too, though rarely.

The vegetation consists mainly of Acacia Woodland, Acacia Scrub, Terminalia Sericea Sandveld Scrub. The two main Arcacia species are Bastard Umbrella Thorn (arcacia luederitzil), which resembles the Umbrella Thorn but has straight pods and black thorn with its strong, curved thorns. Around Piper Pan the succulent like wild sesame bushes provide beautiful scenery, especially when bearing their huge, trumpet shaped flowers. Among the most noticeable shrubs are the Trumpet Thorn and the Yellow Western Rhigozum brevispinosum. Very common during rains is the Flowered Ground Crepper which is known as the devils thorn.

After the summer rains arrive in the northern section of CKGR, from Deception Valley to Piper Pans, the vast plains burst with sweet grasses and it becomes one of the prime game-viewing areas in Botswana. The clear blue sky fills with gigantic clouds and the stage is set for an amazing transformation. Into the scene enters thousands of gemsbok, springbok and wildebeest, with plentiful lion, cheetah and jackal in attendance. This gathering of animals is a sight to behold and can be compared with the Serengeti / Masai Mara migrations of Tanzania and Kenya.

Sunday Pan has three camp sites the central points of which are at coordinates (21 °21’6.37”S 23 °40’16.69E), (21 °19’58.16”S 23 °41’18.23’E) and (21 °19’54.71”S23 °41”17.09”E).

Passarge Pan has three campsites the central points of which are at coordinates 21 °14’45.56”S23 °35’28.39”E) 21 °16’6.49”S23 °’37.01”E) and (21 °21”23.29”S 23 °19”17.56”E)

Motopi has three campsites the central points of which are at coordinates (21 °c 0’33.75”S23 °4”48.25”E),(21 °8’4.78”s 23 °4”26.58”E) and (21 °9”54.82”S23 °6”5.30”E)

Measuring : 10 meters around each central point The Lekhubu, letiahau, and piper pan campsites in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve the central points of which are at coordinates:

Lekhubu (21 °35’33.02”S 23 °44’49.93”E) (2 campsites)
Leatihau (21 °36’31.96”S23 °11’54.35”E) (3 campsites)
Piper Pan (21 °46’5.77”S23 °11’54.35”E) and (21 °47’34.30”S 23 °12’53.50”E) (2 campsites)

There are four airstrips namely at Deception Pan, at Xade, at Xaka, and at the game scout in Khutse. If one wants to fly in there must be arrangements with the department of wildlife.From the North- approaching Maun side via Makalamabedi After leaving Maun, one drives for 54 km to a sign that reads ‘Makalamabedi’, (251 km from Nata) turn right here and after 9km one will cross the Boteti river on a high level bridge.
The tarred road ends there but one follows the river in a south easterly direction until reaching Makalamabedi. Here one goes through veterinary gate and turn south. This road is very sandy and stretches and it certainly requires a 4×4 vehicle.
Follow the fence for 77km until you reach Kuke corner. Continue south east along the reserve boundary for 22km to reach the entrance gate .Go through the gate and drive 9.3km to the games count camp and the official entrance of CKGR.

Via Rakops

To take the Rakops road which is graveled, drive from Maun for 82km to a turn off that is marked ‘Motopi’ (223km from Nata). 3km down this road beyond the bridge one turns left to Motopi village, which is about 800meters further .one follows this road via Moreomaoto, Khumaga, and Tsoe to Rakops tower. Turn west cross a pan and continue on that road for 46km until you reach the gate.
The official entry point is 9km further at the games count camp. From the East Just north of Francistown one turns west on the Orapa road and follows the tar road for 371 km until reaching Rakops. From there just follow the directions of the road. From the West From Ghanzi one takes the road south to Kang. After 36km there is a big sign indicating the road east to Xade in the CKGR. One follows that road for 134 km where one will cross the boundary. Continue for another 26km to reach the game scout camp. Where one must report and pay entry fees. The road is very sandy and stretches, so be prepared for a long drive.

When visiting CKGR, fuel and water are the main concerns. Take note that there is no support system patrolling the roads on a regular basis. Some of the roads don’t see a vehicle for more than three months at times, so if one wishes to cross Kalahari, one must make absolutely sure that one is well equipped.

GPS
One must take GPS along. This is not essential but for first time visitors is advisable.

Fuel
It is essential to calculate the kilometers beforehand and work out the estimated fuel consumption. Be sure to be very consecutive in doing this. Provide for extra fuel for game drive.

Water
One also has to be very consecutive and allow only +/- 5liters of water p/p per/day. it is amazing how little water it takes to have a “bath” if you must. The secret being to soap yourself first and then rinse yourself by using your washing rag. Due to the grass seeds one can have radiator problems and therefore always take extra water for such mishap.

Food and drinks
There are no shops except in Xade, but this shop is very small and may be closed when you get there, therefore take enough provisions for your entire stay. The shops in Rakops are very basic , but there is a reliable bottle store and bar.

Tools, spare parts and jack
It is essential to take, thick, twisted wire or any other tool with a hook on the end to remove grass seeds from underneath the vehicle. A high lift jack is preferable because a small jack is difficult to use in thick sand. Also take a wooden block which to put the jack. At least two layers of gauze must be put in the front of the vehicle to keep the grass seeds out. Make sure that the seeds cannot get into the radiator from the side’s .Take as many spare parts as possible.

From the center of the CKGR: There is nothing of the sort for a radius of about 300km in all directions.
From Deception Valley: There are two lodges in 60km radius of Deception Valley.