Central Kalahari

Central Kalahari Game Reserve is an extensive National Park in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana. Established in 1961 it covers an area of 52,800 km² (about twice the size of Massachusetts, and 1/16th of Botswana's total land area) making it the second largest game reserve in the world. The park contains wildlife such as giraffe, brown hyena, warthog, cheetah, wild dog, leopard, lion, blue wildebeest, eland,gemsbok, kudu and red hartebeest. The land is mostly flat and gently undulating covered with bush and grasses covering the sand dunes, and areas of larger trees. Many of the river valleys are fossilized with salt pans. Four fossilized rivers meander through the reserve including Deception Valley which began to form around 16,000 years ago.

The Basarwa, or San, have inhabited the lands for thousands of years since they roamed the area as nomadic hunters. However, since the mid-1990s the Botswanan government has tried to relocate the Bushmen from the reserve claiming it is a drain on financial resources despite revenues increasing by tourism to the reserve. In 1997, three quarters of the entire San population were relocated from the reserve, and in October 2005 the government had resumed the forced relocation into resettlement camps outside of the park leaving only about 250 permanent occupiers. But in 2006 a Botswanan court proclaimed the eviction illegal by allowing people to return in Central Kalahari Game Reserve. A huge bush fire destroyed large parts of the reserve by mid of September 2008. The origin of the fire remains unknown.