The Central Kalahari Game Reserve occupies most of Botswana’s flat interior. Five times bigger than the prodigious Chobe National Park, the reserve is the second largest in the world weighing in at 52,800 sq km. The big attractions: wilderness, wildlife and the San hunter-gatherers. With such vast expanses of uninhabited land you’re about as remote as you can be on planet Earth without putting your life at risk. Explorations barely scratch the perimeter of this savanna wilderness and the wildlife roams far and free. The northern section is the most developed – by that we mean it is accessible, has a public camping area and some exclusive lodges – with Deception Valley being the focal point. Private concessions line the edge of the park and these offer exclusive access and accommodation ranging from suitably comfortable to complete luxury. The Kalahari is a rich and intricate ecosystem built on a layer of sand and covered with grass and beautiful acacia trees – camelthorn and the distinctive flat-topped umbrella trees predominate. Wildlife is especially prolific in the dry season from May to September when daytime temperatures are mild to warm and the nights are cold. On game drives and tracking expeditions led by the San guides you can expect to a variety of wildlife species. Carnivores in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve include lion, leopard, wild dog, cheetah, jackal, caracal, brown hyena and nocturnal predators; herbivores include kudu, giraffe, steenbok, duiker, zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest, eland, ostrich and oryx. Summer rains arrive – in the form of spectacular thundershowers – at varying times between November and January to herald the birding season with over 200 species recorded including migrants and local rarities. Self-sufficient adventures through the park require the detailed planning of an experienced guide and at least two vehicles equipped with all necessary off-road features.