Places We Love: !Khamab Kalahari Reserve, South Africa

When I hear the word 'Kalahari,' it evokes visions of endless sand, mystery, and pure wilderness. This alone stirs feelings of wonder and discovery in those lucky enough to visit.

The Kalahari Desert, which is a phrase that comes from the Tswana word Kgala, meaning 'the great thirst,' is a canvas of massive skies, stars that go on forever, reddish sands, golden winter grass, epic thunderstorms in summer, and a stunning mix of wildlife. It's the kind of place that leaves you wide-eyed, feeling like an explorer stumbling onto something truly special.

Tucked away on the south-eastern edge of the Kalahari is !Khamab Kalahari Reserve, the largest, private, Big-5 reserve in South Africa. This 90 000ha reserve has the vision to become a premier conservation area renowned for its positive contribution to the conservation of landscapes, habitats and ecological processes and the full spectrum of herbivores and carnivores typical of the eastern Kalahari Bushveld.

!Khamab’s name is also the Nama name for the only true fox in sub-Saharan Africa – the Cape fox – which is often associated with arid and semi-arid areas. Although not as well known as the charismatic, large predators, its shy, nocturnal habits make it the perfect little creature to represent the reserve in its uniqueness.

Some species have become almost synonymous with the Kalahari. Think of the Kalahari and in your mind automatically wanders to regal gemsbok, black-maned lion, curious meerkat, magnificent camelthorn trees and croaking black korhaan! Although all these species can also be found elsewhere, there is something special about seeing them in the semi-desert of the Kalahari.

The Kalahari has been called a predator’s paradise. You will find all of southern Africa’s large carnivore species at !Khamab. Lion, leopard, African wild dog, cheetah, spotted and brown hyena all call !Khamab home. Also, many of the smaller, and often shy carnivore species are present. Black-backed jackal, caracal, aardwolf, African wild cat, honey badger, bat-eared fox, Cape fox, meerkat and two mongoose species are always special to see.

Accommodation at !Khamab

!Khamab is in a malaria-free area and is safe to visit all year round. The size of the reserve and vast wilderness areas devoid of roads makes !Khamab ideally suited for discerning travellers that want something more than just the normal game viewing experience.

You will not be sharing the accommodation with other travelers or any safari outing or lodge activity. You will be the only ones catered for.  No traffic jams at wildlife sightings as yours will be the only safari vehicle out there, ensuring intimate wildlife experiences and fantastic photographic opportunities.

A minimum of four nights stay is recommended to make the most of the !Khamab experience.

There are enough rooms to accommodate eight sharing guests at the lodge and you have exclusive use, and therefor a visit to !Khamab is a truly intimate and private wilderness experience. You have the privilege of having the entire reserve to yourself, adding to the feeling of remoteness that the Kalahari brings. This makes !Khamab an ideal destination for any occasion, from small get-togethers, celebrations or even exclusive honeymoons.

Insider Tip From Michael Appalsamy

Choosing the best time to go on safari can be an interesting discussion because of all the different areas and options. Regarding !Khamab, their average rainfall in !Khamab Kalahari Reserve is 333 mm/year, and the rainy season spans from December to May, although the first three months of the rainy season are significantly hotter than the last three. Temperatures generally peak in January at around 34°C.

The most comfortable time to travel is in South African winter (June, July and August) when temperatures are cool (0°C-20°C) and the climate is dry.

I can guarantee you that some of the sunsets you will see during this time of the year will be some of the most beautiful ones you will ever see!

Key features of !Khamab Kalahari Reserve:

  • Exploration

With 95,000 hectares to explore, we are bound to experience different landscapes from day to day. As a photographer, this is great for us to leave !Khamab with a diverse portfolio of images including some incredibly beautiful dry lake beds which make for incredible afternoons with lots of dust, lots of animals and perfect endings to a day.

  • Exclusivity

To my point above, within the 95,000 hectares to explore, we will be the ONLY tourist vehicle out at a time. This gives us the ultimate experience of exclusivity at every sighting which allows us to maximise our time at a sighting as well as our photographic positioning.

  • Conservation

In a changing world, the face of conservation is also changing. Unlimited spaces for wildlife to roam freely are disappearing, and the importance of fenced reserves where nature can be protected is increasing. Unfortunately, many reserves are too small for natural ecological processes to play out, and interventions by managers are needed to replicate the balance that vast unfenced areas once provided.

This highlights the importance of larger reserves in the conservation landscape. !Khamab was established first and foremost as a conservation area, where its relatively large size can make a meaningful contribution to the conservation of the Eastern Kalahari. With the conservation of the Eastern Kalahari landscape, its inhabitants and the ecological processes that drive the system as the only objective, the vision, mission, and key objectives of !Khamab Kalahari Reserve were developed.

  • Flexibility

During our Exclusive Kalahari Safari, we book the lodge out exclusively and therefore our group is catered for on an extremely flexible basis. Whether it staying out on drive the whole day, coming back for an early breakfast or taking an afternoon to do some Lightroom, the lodge caters to all of our needs!

  • Uniqueness

The Kalahari Desert is like a photographer's playground, offering a mix of incredible features for wildlife and landscape shots. It's not just the typical red sand – there's a whole bunch of unique landscapes. You've got diverse landscapes with grasslands, salt pans, and acacia woodlands, giving you tons of different backdrops to play with. Plus, the sunsets and sunrises are next level – the wide-open spaces and dusty air creates beautiful colour shows.


!Khamab Lodge, because of its unique design and extreme exclusivity is simply a must see property.  All the elements come together here, from the experiences of the Kalahari, to the perfect lodge, it is simply heaven on earth.

All in all, we are extremely excited to experience this beautiful, well kept secret and we look forward to experiencing it with you. If you happen to have any questions, we would happily assist with them.

Thanks for reading!


Exclusive Kalahari Safari

The Exclusive Kalahari Safari give you an opportunity to visit and uncover South Africa's best-kept secret. Wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy unique sightings of Wildlife as well as beautiful landscapes that change around every corner. The exclusivity ensures an intimate experience, free from crowds and interruptions. This safari is filled with personal and immersive moments  in the pristine Kalahari eco-system.

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