Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Department of National Museum and Monuments
Ghanzi and Kweneng Districts
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The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) and adjoining Khutse Game Reserve, lie between 21°00'S and 23°20'S and between 22°45'E and 25°20'E. Situated in central Botswana, it is part of the Kalahari Basin, the world's largest continuous stretch of sand, stretching from the Orange river up to Zaire. The CKGR is bordered to the north by the Kuke veterinary cordon fence and to the south by the Khutse Game Reserve. The Game Reserve was established in 1971 to protect its series of pans, dry river valleys and game. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is presently inhabited by traditional hunter-gatherers belonging to the Basarwa (San) and Bakgalakgadi tribes, but there are no human inhabitants in Khutse. Although there are large open grasslands, the Game Reserves are both largely covered with semi-arid shrub savanna and scrub. There are small patches or strips of Acacia woodland, and large areas of Terminalia sandveld. Fossil riverbeds found in Deception and Okwa valleys, and in the Khutse Game Reserve, mark the positions of rivers which once drained into the ancient Lake Makgadikgadi. Pans and shallow depressions periodically containing water are widespread. The floors of the pans are bare or covered with short grass and herbs, but may occasionally develop into wetlands after heavy rains.
Justification of Outstanding Universal Value
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a landscape of superlative natural phenomenon that is of exceptional natural beauty with expanses of unaltered landscapes and vegetation communities ranging from a mosaic of large clay pans and fossil river valleys to rolling, vegetated sand dunes and woodlands. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve harbors one of the most unique biodiversity in southern Africa including some concentrated populations of threatened species of animals such as the Brown Hyena and diverse birds of prey. The "black maned lion", one variation of the panthera leo is found in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and is the largest variation type of the lion species in Africa.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is one of the finest examples of human and nature interaction particularly in the dry environmental conditions. It is a place where for a long time the Basarwa (San) people have interacted with what is considered to be a harsh environment for many thousands of years survived by hunting animals sustainably using poisoned arrows from only their finest inventions of nature's
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve fulfills criteria v, vii, and x for mixed sites.
- Criteria (v): be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea- use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
Situated at the core of the world' s largest stretch of sea of sand (Kalahari Desert), the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is one of the finest examples of human and nature interaction particularly of the dry environmental conditions. It is a place where for a long time the Basarwa (San) people have interacted with what is considered to be a harsh environment for many thousands of years thereby making fires and killing animals sustainably using poisoned arrows from only their finest technological inventions of nature's resources.
- Criteria (vii): contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a superlative natural phenomenon that is of exceptional natural beauty with expanse of unaltered landscapes and vegetation communities ranging from a mosaic of large clay pans and fossil river valleys to rolling, vegetated sand dunes and woodlands.
- Criteria (x): Contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in- situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve harbours one of the most unique biodiversity in southern Africa including some concentrated populations of threatened species of animals such as the Brown Hyena and birds of prey. It is also home to the world largest species of Panthera leo, the black maned lion.
Statements of authenticity and/or integrity
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (including Khutse) is a massive physiographic feature that covers about 55 000 km2 with a wide range of natural features that have only been undergoing geomorphological processes. The area also represents the rare geomorphic features such as a mosaic of pans and fossil river valleys as well as vegetated sand dunes which sustain unique biodiversity.
The nominated area has little interference from human activities in terms of intensive economic exploitation hence the area is still in its pristine conditions and is considered one of the real examples of wilderness areas in the world. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is managed by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks as mandated by the Wildlife and National Parks Act of 1992. The area has a detailed Management Plan that ensures proper protection of all the resources. The Botswana government aspires to maintain the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in its natural form and cultural material context by continually reviewing management plans and encouraging research focused on conservation and management.
Comparison with other similar properties
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve has a unique ecosystem when compared to other ecological setups such as the Chobe National Parks and Moremi Game Reserve. It is inhabited by a number of animal species that have adapted to drier conditions thereby surviving for many months without surface water as compared to the above stated areas and other ecological setups of the East African Rift Valley savannas. The adaptive behavioral characteristics of animal communities found in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve includes surviving extreme temperature ranges of below zero (-5oC) in winter and above 40oC during hot summer months. In terms of traditional hunting and gathering by the indigenous groups, the ecological setup had remained sustainable for many thousands of years ago and very little change happened probably due to changes in climatic conditions. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is comparable with the Kgalagadi Trans-frontier Park in many ways including the dominance species of birds of prey and antelopes adapted to desert conditions.