Khutse Game Reserve.

The Khutse Game Reserve was gazetted in 1971. It is contiguous with the Central Kalahari Game Reserve which was gazetted in 1961. The annual rainfall is about 350mm and is very variable. There is no permanent surface water in either of the reserves and the vegetation is a shrub and low tree savannah with a ground cover of tufted perennials. Pans and fossil river valleys are important habitats.

The reserves are entirely within the Kalahari region, which is the area covered by deep, wind-blown sands. These sands are generally between 60 to 100 metres deep and form structureless, mildly acidic, infertile soils. An important factor in the ecology of the Kalahari is the very limited water-retaining capacity of the soil and the high infiltration and flatness means that there is no runoff and all rain penetrates the soil. The land lacks any features that can retain water beyond the few months of the wet season. The climate is classified as semi-arid of the low altitude, hot steppe type with summer rainfall. The area has a mean annual rainfall ranging from 325 to 375mm, (highest in the NE and lowest in SW) with considerable variation between years. Most of the rain falls in the months December to April.

Droughts are frequent in the Kalahari, during which the rainfall may be 60% less than normal. These factors together mean that the flora and fauna are characterised by their adaptation to conditions of water scarcity and that the carrying capacity of the land is limited. When there is good rain, recovery can be very rapid with dense growth of annual plants that increases the fire hazard in the dry season.

It is known that Basarwa or San peoples have inhabited the region that is now Botswana for many thousands of years. Although they were mobile, their movements had limits so it is reasonable to say that the area that has been the domain of the Basarwa for many centuries includes CKGR and Khutse. The BaKgalagadi moved into the area about 400 years ago.

Although wildlife is not as concentrated as other areas of Botswana, Khutse Game Reserve presents visitors with a unique variety of animals and birds and captivates visitors with its stark beauty and remoteness. Animals found here include giraffe, wildebeest, lion, leopard, cheetah, brown hyena, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, wild dog and various species of antelope. There are over 150 bird species, which include ostrich, kori bustard, white backed vulture and greater kestrel. The reserve offers fantastic wildlife sights when animals congregate around the pans after good rains.