Lodges

Deception Valley Lodge

Luxury in a rugged wilderness with authentic Bushman walks

Deception Valley Lodge

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is surprising beautiful in its harshness and austerity and is home to an array of well-adapted wildlife - from the elegant oryx antelope and ostrich to the majestic cheetah and black-maned Kalahari lion. Perhaps most notably, it is the historic home of the San Bushmen tribe, one of Africa's ancient people known for their rich cultural heritage and expert survival skills. There are few permanent lodges in this under-explored region, making Deception Valley Lodge just one of a handful of luxury all-inclusive options. Misleadingly, however, this family-owned lodge is located nearly 75 kilometres from the Deception Valley region within the CKGR. But the nearest gate is just a 6 kilometre drive, and thankfully the wilderness surrounding the lodge itself is still quintessentially Kalahari, with a productive waterhole within view of the main area.

At the lodge

The hotel

The peaked thatch with butter coloured walls blend naturally into the surrounds. African prints and wood carvings create a rustic, easy-going safari ambiance that may feel slightly outdated. However, comfort is the higher value: plush leather sofas on a breezy outside verandah, sumptuous daybeds in an indoor lounge. A small library and well-stocked bar meet most needs in-between game viewing, as does a large swimming pool. It's pretty simple but luxury is attained by way of the attentive staff and owners' hands-on approach.

The rooms

Eight thatched chalets raised on stilts connect to the main lodge with a wooden walkway. Each room boasts indoor and outdoor showers and deep Victorian tub. There's plenty of room to sprawl - on your private deck or spacious lounge; enjoy a gin and tonic while you're at it, courtesy of your mini-bar. The family room is simply two adjoining double rooms. If exclusivity is what you're after (or you're a small family with children between 8 and 11 years) the Kalahari Manor is your very own bush palace, complete with a private guide and chef. It has a large, elegant lounge a sunny veranda and can comfortably accommodate four.

On safari

Experiences

The CKGR is home to some of Botswana's better summer game viewing - the abundant plains game and ensuing predators. The Bushman-guided walks, with their intimate knowledge of the region, are a year-round experience not to be skipped. If getting into the heart of the Kalahari is your aim, however, you might want to reconsider - it's at least a few hours to the most productive pans and a day-trip into the CKGR will cost you an extra $500 dollars per person per day (there must be a minimum of four guests). But the lodge itself is located in a private reserve where off-roading is permitted, as are night drives - a great opportunity to catch some of the scarcely seen night-life of the desert, including brown hyenas, porcupines and aardwolfs.

When to go

Central Kalahari by month

January

Season: Wet
  • Day and night temperatures are high with moderate humidity, rainfall is at its peak for this desert environment.
  • January welcomes in the birth of the next generation towards the end of the month.
  • A time of high activity amongst the predators as they take full advantage of the walking buffet.
  • Vegetation is green, wild flowers are in bloom and birds are in their breeding plumage.

February

Season: Wet
  • Day and night temperatures are high with moderate humidity, rainfall is at its peak for this desert environment.
  • The perfect time to view the newborns, as they find their wobbly feet.
  • A time of high activity amongst the predators as they take full advantage of the naive newborns.
  • Vegetation is green, wild flowers are in bloom and birds are in their breeding plumage.
  • During the green season there are more insects and mosquitoes around, luring out a host of unique insectivores.

March

Season: Wet
  • There is low humidity with high temperatures, rainfall begins to drop with shorter periods of bad weather.
  • The ideal time to visit the Central Kalahari, plenty of game to view with high predator activities.
  • Wildlife is in pristine condition, migratory birds are present and enjoying the lush green vegetation.
  • Unique desert flowering species, barking gecko's and the chirping rain locusts make an unusual but fascinating change to the more traditional safari.
  • During the green season there are more insects and mosquitoes around, luring out a host of unique insectivores.

April

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are still high in April, with rain taking the form of irregular afternoon showers.
  • The end of the wet season has arrived, as long as there is grazing and water available, wildlife will remain in the area.
  • Vegetation dries and thins, providing the perfect conditions and opportunities to view the area's wildlife.
  • Clarity improves for photography, showcasing the breath-taking landscapes of this wonderfully different wilderness.

May

Season: Dry
  • May is a transition month, temperatures begin to drop from the extremes and rain is almost nonexistent.
  • Water sources begin to dry, animal densities drop but there are still interesting encounters with the unique resident species.
  • Great time to enjoy the bushman experience, with an arid landscape, clear blue skies and moderate temperatures.
  • Clarity improves for photography, showcasing the breath-taking landscapes of this true wilderness.

June

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are comfortable but have dropped considerably at night, with morning frost on occasion, rainfall dry's up.
  • The animals are spread out over large areas, but this is a good month to view the many unique desert species not often seen elsewhere in Botswana.
  • Great time to enjoy the bushman experience with clear blue skies and moderate temperatures.
  • The air is thin and still, creating the perfect time to photograph the unique local species, as well as the inspiring landscapes.
  • The night sky is at its most impressive, with shooting stars and the Milky Way taking centre stage.
  • Dont forget to pack a warm jacket for this time of year.

July

Season: Dry
  • Nights are cold with occasional frost, day temperatures are comfortable and rainfall dry's up.
  • The animals are spread out over large areas, but this is a good month to view the many unique desert species not often seen elsewhere in Botswana.
  • Great time to enjoy the bushman experience with clear blue skies and moderate temperatures.
  • The air is thin and still, creating the perfect time to photograph the unique local species, as well as the inspiring landscapes.
  • The night sky is at its most impressive, with shooting stars and the Milky Way taking centre stage.
  • Pack a warm jacket for the chilly early mornings and night time.

August

Season: Dry
  • The coldest night temperatures have passed, with the daylight hours warming considerably, rain is still very unlikely.
  • The animals are spread out over large areas, but this is a good month to view the many unique desert species not often seen elsewhere in Botswana.
  • There are very few insects and mosquitoes around during this time of year.
  • The air is thin and still, creating the perfect time to photograph the unique local species, as well as the inspiring landscapes.
  • The night sky is at its most impressive, with shooting stars and the Milky Way taking centre stage.
  • Don't forget to pack a warm jacket for this time of year.

September

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures start to climb, with rain being unlikely in the month of September.
  • The animals are spread out over large areas, but this is a good month to view the many unique desert species not often seen elsewhere in Botswana.
  • There are very few insects and mosquitoes around during this time of year.
  • The air is thin and still, creating the perfect time to photograph the unique local species, as well as the inspiring landscapes.
  • The night sky is at its most impressive, with shooting stars and the Milky Way taking centre stage.
  • Pack a warm jacket for the chilly early mornings and night time.

October

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures reach their peak with humidity starting to climb towards the end of the month, it is unlikely that the rains will fall in October over the Kalahari.
  • The dry landscape will burst into life should the first rains arrive, animals move back into the area as it becomes more hospitable.
  • Wildlife is in need of rain after the dry season, spread over large distances, survival is an everyday struggle.
  • An interesting month for photography, there is high humidity, with the landscape at its most extreme before the arrival of the first rains.

November

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot and relatively humid with the first rains of the year falling in the form of afternoon showers.
  • This can be difficult to predict as weather can come early or late depending on the year.
  • This is the start of the 'green season' with wildlife migrating back into the game reserve to feed on the newly shooting grasses.
  • Insects become more prevalent at this time of year but remain lower than other parts of Botswana.
  • Known for interesting cloud formations and spectacular electrical storms illuminate the nights sky.

December

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot and relatively humid with rain falling in the form of afternoon showers.
  • This is the start of the 'green season' with wildlife migrating back into the game reserve to feed on the newly shooting grasses.
  • Migratory birds have returned, creating a hive of activity as they display for the opposite sex.
  • Insects become more prevalent at this time of year but remain lower than other parts of Botswana.
  • Known for interesting cloud formations and spectacular electrical storms illuminate the nights sky.

Wildlife


The iconic Kalahari is a semi-arid desert ecosystem known for its extreme environment, with the light seasonal rains attracting wildlife to feed on the lush savannah grasses. Herds of springbok and gemsbok converge on the plains with cheetah and huge black-maned lion ready in waiting. Throughout the year, encounter unique desert species such as meerkat, porcupine, aardvark and the shy brown hyena.

Map

Customise our trips online

Change lodges, add new destinations and make our suggested trips your own.

Explore trips

Get the inside scoop on safaris and where to go in Africa

Just the good stuff in your inbox every now and again!