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The middle of nowhere. This is the best way to describe the way to Ghanzi, also known as the capital of the Kalahari. Ghanzi is situated on the Trans Kalahari Highway, to the north of Kang and 280 km south of Maun. Gaborone is “only” 650 km away, but the tar road is in excellent condition.
The region around Ghanzi is cattle district, with more than 200 cattle farms situated in the area of 117 910 km 2. Legend has it that Ghanzi got its name from the Naro word “Gaentsii”, which means “swollen buttocks”, referring to the excellent condition of the many antelope of yesteryear (and today’s herds of cattle).
The San people were the first inhabitants of the area around Ghanzi and were masters of surviving in these arid circumstances. They were followed by “Hottentot” people, who had herds of cattle. Only in 1874 did the first white settlers arrive, led by Hendrik van Zyl, a very colourful character.
Many of the later arrivals of white settlers were lured to the Ghanzi district by offers of land – land that was, in fact, fraudulently poached from Chief Moremi by employees of Cecil John Rhodes in Maun. Today the Ghanzi district is home to many groups: from descendants of the original San inhabitants, to Baherero, Batawana and Afrikaners.
The climate is extremely hot in summer and bearable in winter. Prepare to see flat, sandy landscape with thorn trees and grasslands – a lot of it! Yet, in some strange way, the area around Ghanzi has a charm of its own.
Ghanzi is the gateway to the Central Kgalagadi and is close to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. It is also a favourite stop-over for tourists on their way to the Okavango Delta. The Kalahari Arms Hotel (one of the first businesses in Ghanzi) offers luxury accommodation to tourists and business executives. Another accommodation establishment is Khawa Safari Lodge, south of Ghanzi, while Thakadu Camp is our choice for people on a self-drive holiday.