Haina Kalahari Lodge
Enjoy luxury on the margins of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve as you experience game viewing and indulge in the ancient culture of the San people
Haina Kalahari Lodge (owned and operated by Orange County Resorts & Hotels Ltd) is located on the northern boundary of Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). Situated in its 11,000-hectare private game reserve, the lodge offers a classic Kalahari experience, with game viewing and interaction with the indigenous San people of the Kalahari. Whilst the lodge has all the benefits of being a private game reserve, it also affords easy access to CKGR, being the closest property to the Matswere Gate of CKGR.
Haina Kalahari Lodge offers a selection of experiences that allows the discerning visitor a rare opportunity to immerse oneself in the spirit of the Kalahari. It introduces you to every aspect of the Kalahari, from its famed night skies and unique wildlife to the resident San people and their culture.
The property will be relaunched under the Orange County Resorts & Hotels Ltd brand name ‘Evolve Back’ as the Evolve Back Gham Dao Lodge, after upgradation. Gham Dhao means ‘lion’s pugmarks’ in the language of the San people.
Plan Your Trip
Located in the heart of the Kalahari, Haina Kalahari Lodge has its own private airstrip, making it easily accessible within Botswana. Licensed to a maximum of 5700kg, one can fly in their own plane with accredited tour operators or air charters. Permission to land on the airstrip is required before arrival.
Several connecting flights to Botswana, provided by international airlines, fly between major cities of India and Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone.
For those wishing to self-drive, we strongly recommend that you make use of a 4x4 vehicle. The nearest village is Rakops, about one hour and forty-five minutes’ drive to the east. The small town of Maun is approximately two and a half hours drive further north.
From South Africa
The most obvious and practical route from the South is via Rakops. The last refuelling stop on the main road is at Mopipi, after Letlhakane and before Rakops.
Haina Kalahari Lodge's turn off is 23km past the Rakops tower (Do not take the CKGR turn off which is just past the Rakops turn off). Turn left at the 'Haina Kalahari Lodge' signboard and follow the cut line for approx. 75km to Haina Kalahari Lodge. You have to pass through Kuke Corner Veterinary gate.
Follow the road to Makalamabedi, turn off at approx. 52km from Maun. Turn right before Makalamabedi Veterinary fence (see Haina sign). This is the best option if you are carrying meat with your provisions. Drive along the veterinary fence line to Kuke gate. Turn right along the Central Kalahari Game Reserve fence line for approx. 22km.
If you are not carrying meat, continue through the Veterinary Fence Gate and turn sharply right past the police base and carry on along the fence line up to the Kuke gate. Enter through the Kuke gate and follow the fence line. Drive along the CKGR fence line until you find the Haina sign. Turn right at 'Haina Kalahari Lodge' sign.
Take the tarred road towards Maun. Turn right directly after the Kuke Veterinary fence and drive along the cutline fence towards the east. Follow two poor sand roads adjacent to Central Kalahari Game Reserve for 130km until you see the 'Haina Kalahari Lodge' signboard on your left.
Best Time To Visit
Wildlife viewing in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is typically at its weakest in the summer when, due to the scarcity of food in the dry season, wildlife disperses over larger territories and home ranges making them more difficult to find. At Haina Kalahari Lodge, however, the wildlife densities stay fairly constant within the private game reserve making it ideal for wildlife viewing throughout the year.
Haina is open 365 days a year, and each season offers a different experience. It is usually easier to view wildlife in the dry winter months (around July-October), when the grass has died back and water sources are limited. More wildlife can be seen at waterholes. Wildlife migrates through the lodge with the seasons, and during the wet months, animals congregate around the pans where the grass is thick, and sightings are not that common. The roads can get very muddy during this time.
- November to March: The summer season begins in November and ends in March. It usually brings very high temperatures. However, summer is also the rainy season, and cloud coverage and rain can cool things down considerably, although only usually for a short period. Temperatures range from 24-43°C.
- April, May: Autumn season begins in April, and this is the start of the dry season. It is mostly dry and sunny. The middle of the day is pleasant with temperatures rising to 28°C.
- June to August: These months see almost no rain at all. But it is much cooler, with afternoon temperatures reaching only up to 24°C. Early mornings are chilly at about 6°C.
- September, October: It gets hotter and hotter before the rains break, marking the end of the dry season. October is extremely hot, with an average afternoon temperature of 33°C. Nights and mornings are pleasant.
Haina Kalahari Lodge houses ten tented rooms, spread out through the Kalahari burs, treading a fine line between privacy and accessibility. The lodge can accommodate a maximum of 20 guests, ensuring a sense of exclusivity that defines contemporary luxury and allowing you to experience Kalahari at your own pace. The lodge boasts three categories of unique tented accommodations: Luxury Tent, Superior Tent, Family Tent.
- Sheltered by a uniquely structured slatted canopy, inspired by the traditional dwellings of the San people, the five Luxury Tents are spacious with artful interiors and come with en-suite facilities including indoor and outdoor showers.
- Built underneath a thatched canopy, the three Superior Tents are similar to Luxury Tents, slightly more spacious with an additional bath. They are furnished in subtle earth tones and dark woods in a contemporary African theme.
- The Family Tent is made up of two Luxury Tents adjacent to each other, sharing a communal deck. The property has one Family Tent, and it is the perfect space for a family, providing privacy and exclusivity.
All tents have individual tea and coffee stations, a writing desk, and a large closet. A large double bed laid out in crisp white linen awaits you under a large walk-in mosquito net after a long day.
An aerial view of the Haina Kalahari Lodge, located on the northern boundary of Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
A swimming pool, sundeck, and a well-appointed bar offer the perfect way to wind down after a day out in the wild.
Expansive decks offer great views while you indulge in delectables.
Haina Kalahari Lodge has its own private airstrip, making it easily accessible within Botswana.
Luxury Tents are sheltered by a uniquely structured slatted canopy, inspired by the traditional dwellings of the San people.
Luxury Tents are spacious with artful interiors and come with en-suite facilities including indoor and outdoor showers.
The Family Tent is made up of two Luxury Tents adjacent to each other, sharing a communal deck. Perfect space for a family, providing privacy and exclusivity.
Superior Tents are furnished in subtle earth tones and dark woods in a contemporary African theme.
Superior Tents are similar to Luxury Tents, but slightly more spacious with an additional bath.
The lodge offers walks into the bush with the resident San people who will passionately share in detail about their ancient culture.
Game drives are conducted by professional and experienced guides in open-sided 4x4 vehicles.
Spotting the Kalahari Lion is easily one of the highlights of a game drive in the reserve.
A highly social species, the Common Dwarf Mongoose can be seen at the reserve.
Wildlife densities stay fairly constant within the private game reserve all through the year, even in the dry season. A giraffe in the reserve.
A Gemsbok or South African Oryx on the move.
Herbivores like zebras are seen regularly in the game reserve.
Elephants are occasional visitors to the game reserve.
The area also offers excellent birdwatching opportunities with over 250 bird species positively identified. A Pale Chanting Goshawk in the reserve.
Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills are residents of Southern Africa and mainly feed on the ground.
Sun-downers are the perfect way to end your afternoon safari.
The Kalahari is well known for its crystal-clear views of the Milky Way, which can be enjoyed from an elevated star gazing deck.
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See | Do
- Situated in central Botswana and measuring a little over 52000sq.km., CKGR was established in 1961 and is the second-largest game reserve in the world. Located in the centre of the vast Kalahari Desert, it is a distinct ecological unit – a transitional ecotone that links the woodlands of the northern Kalahari with the thornveld and scrub plains of the south.
- Early morning, afternoon and night game drives (safaris) are on offer. Each drive is conducted by professional and experienced guides in open-sided 4x4 vehicles. Guests can choose from a shared or private drive.
- The area is well-known for sightings of the Kalahari Lion, leopard and the elusive Brown Hyena. Herbivores such as zebra, Gemsbok, giraffe, Blue Wildebeest, Impala and eland are regular sightings here while elephants are occasional visitors. Other notable species include the Aardvark, Cape Porcupine and African Wild Cat.
- While large mammals are always exciting to see, the area also offers excellent birdwatching opportunities with over 250 bird species positively identified.
- Sun-downers are the perfect way to end your afternoon safari as the Kalahari sun dissipates, transforming the sky into an artful canvas of beauty.
- A bush dinner deep in the African wilderness is a wonderful and primal experience. Served al fresco, it is a great bonding experience, with the vast Kalahari landscape providing the perfect backdrop.
- A swimming pool, sundeck, a well-appointed bar and an expansive ‘Boma’ eating area in the main lodge offer the perfect way to wind down if you plan to keep indoors.
Good to know
- Following government guidelines to minimise transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19), the property may request additional documentation from guests to validate identity, travel itinerary, and other relevant information, during dates where such guidelines exist.
- For self-drive guests, we recommend that you make use of a 4x4.
- Guests with limited mobility, and those who don't fancy walking too much, can be transported around the lodge in the Haina game viewer.
- Water at Haina is not for human consumption due to its high salt content but is safe to take a shower or bath. The lodge provides fresh drinking water to guests.
- The lodge runs completely on solar power.
- Check-in at Haina Kalahari Lodge is from 2:00PM and check-out is until 10:00AM
What to pack
- The rise and fall of temperatures in the desert mean that you will want to bring clothes to layer. Bring simple basics that you don't mind getting a little dirty so you can peel them off and stack them on as needed.
- Neutral-coloured clothes are best if you are going on a safari as they allow you to blend into your surroundings and not alarm the wildlife.
- Include clothing with a hood, or bring a hat to protect your head from the sun during daytime.
- Pack closed-toe shoes for walking around and going on hikes. The sand can be hot and filled with centipedes, scorpions, and other unwanted surprises, so it's always good to have your feet covered and protected.
- It can get very bright in the Kalahari so bring at least two pairs of sunglasses, in case you lose one.
- The reserve is home to some unique wildlife. To photograph them, lenses with a minimum focal length of 400mm and further are recommended.
- A tripod will come in handy, although bean bags are ideal to shoot when on the Haina game viewer.
- Don’t forget to carry a wide-angle lens for landscape shots. The Kalahari is also the perfect place for astrophotography due to the near absence of any light pollution.
- It is important that you don’t forget your lens cleaning kit. A cloth or a dust cover to cover your camera during the game drives will also help a lot.
- Pack some extra storage. Your memory cards will fill up really quick.
- The lodge runs on solar power; remember to charge your equipment whenever possible.
- Day trips to CKGR are organised by the lodge. Guests get the opportunity to experience the immensity and the wild, mysterious beauty of this unique landscape.
- The lodge offers walks into the bush with the resident San people who will passionately share in detail about their ancient culture and how they have adapted to these harsh and arid conditions.
- The Kalahari is well known for its crystal-clear views of the Milky Way. After a full day of exploration and a delectable dinner, one can drive down to an elevated star gazing deck to watch the Kalahari sky come alive.
Budget per person
A three-night trip will allow you to explore and make the most of the Haina Kalahari experience.
Expect to spend between $550 to $700 per person per night here (including accommodation, game drives, birdwatching, interactive walk with the San people, sun-downers, star gazing, local drinks and all meals).
Day trips to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve are available at an additional charge (includes a packed lunch and soft drinks).