When the CKGR was declared as a reserve, a population of around 5,000 San people lived within its boundaries. In the last decade or so a borehole had been installed at the small village of Xade, where some of the park's game scouts were based. Research in 1996 estimated that the population in the reserve had fallen below 1,500, a significant proportion of whom had moved to live in the vicinity of Xade, near this fairly reliable source of water.
The government's stated policy is now to encourage relocation of the people to 'New Xade' – a new village which has been created outside the reserve. They maintain that this will make it easier to supply the people with basic health and education services. However, this policy has attracted criticism from international human rights groups, like Survival International, who allege that the San are being forcibly coerced to move outside the reserve.