There is a magical place in the vast Kalahari that has perplexed weary wanderers for many years. This” waterless oasis” known as deception valley was named after the riverbed which evokes the illusion of containing water. For centuries when thirsty travellers saw the promising fold of deception valley on the horizon they would rush towards it deliriously. Once they reached the riverbed they would recognise the depth of the deception caused by a dry riverbed that has not seen much water for the past 15.000 years.
The illusion created by the ancient riverbed is the result of a mirage-style effect that gives the blue- clay riverbed the appearance of being filled with water when its actually bone dry.
In wetter times, thousands of years ago, deception valley was part of an ancient river that is believed to have formed part of a vast ancient lake that covered much of the central Kalahari plateau. Today deception valley is a gathering place for large herds of antilopes which attracts a wide range of predators such as lions,leopards,cheetahs, wild dogs and hyenas.
During the wet season the grass in the valley tends to be lush and green, attracting thousands of animals. Unlike most of the habitat of the Kalahari, deception valley is a grassy area and lies between wooded dunes. This habitat provides for the wildlife in the area all year round, including the dry season when there is no surface water.
Deception valley was made famous by Mark and delia owens, an American couple who did the first research into the black maned Kalahari lion and brown hyena. They lived in a tent in deception valley for several years to do their research. About their adventures and daily life in deception valley they wrote the bestselling book “cry of the Kalahari”.
Visitors to deception valley in the Kalahari can enjoy a unique experience with guided gamedrives, walking safaris with the san, magnificent gameviewing and complete isolation from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.