Because of its proximity and relative accessibility to the nation's capital, Khutse Game Reserve is a favourite retreat for Gaborone visitors or residents. The 240 km drive takes the traveller through many interesting Kalahari villages, including Molepolole.
Officially declared a protected area in 1971, Khutse (meaning 'place where you can kneel down and drink') was the second game reserve established on tribal land in Botswana - Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango was the first. Sharing a boundary with the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to the north, but with no fences separating the two, the 2,500 sq km reserve combines most Kalahari habitat types – rolling grasslands, dry riverbeds, fossil dunes and grassed and bare pans.
Khutse Game Reserve is part of an ancient river system that once flowed northeast to fill the prehistoric Lake Makgadikgadi. Khutse's Pans and dry river valleys are remnants of this river system. The reserve also includes a series of picturesque pans - Motailane, Moreswa and Molose pans - where wildlife congregates particularly following good rains. These locations provide good game viewing opportunities for visitors. Water is also sometimes pumped to artificial waterholes at Moreswa and Molose to improve game-viewing throughout the year.
Animals commonly sighted include springbok (often in abundance), gemsbok (typical), giraffe, wildebeest, hartebeest, kudu, black-backed jackal, steenbok, duiker, and the accompanying predators, such as lion, leopard, cheetah, smaller cats, and the endangered brown hyena.
There are several delightful loop trails from the main lodge: a shorter 24 km drive around the northern loop of Sekhushwe and Mohurusile pans; and the longer drive to Moreswa Pan, which is about 64 km from the headquarters, or a 120 km round-trip.
The San and Bakgalagadi peoples – the Kgalagadi's original inhabitants – live in small villages on the reserve's edge. Their traditional arts and crafts can usually be purchased there, and walks with local San guides can be arranged at the Khutse Kalahari Lodge, located about 10 km from the reserve entrance.
Activity highlights in Khutse Game Reserve include the following:
- Game drives
- Wilderness drives
- Nature walks with the Basarwa (The San)