A vast expanse of scrubby dunes far from human habitation.
After the rains, the desert springs into life, attracting herds of antelope as well as all manner of predators from handsome black-maned lion to brown hyena, meerkat and honey badger.
Much of this remote, arid terrain is protected within the immense Central Kalahari Game Reserve, with two smaller but no less spectacular national parks to the east. The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park harbours the remnants of a super-lake which throughout the year is crusty and dry. In the short green season however, tender young grasses carpet the parched, white landscape sparking Africa’s second-largest terrestrial mammal migration comprised of tens of thousands of zebra.
The smaller Nxai Pan National Park to its north also plays host to the zebra herds and is home to many surreal saltpans as well as stands of millennia-old baobab trees, the most famous being Baines’ Baobabs, named after the English artist and explorer Thomas Baines, thought to have been the first European to discover them in the late 19th century.
Quad bike safaris are a popular way to explore the Kalahari, as are game drives in 4×4 vehicles. Walks led by San Bushmen are particularly eye-opening, as visitors are taught age-old survival techniques by guides who have lived for generations in this harsh environment. To top off a visit to this desert region, travellers can visit a mob of meerkats that have become habituated to humans.