Annual rainfall averages 222.6 millimetres.
The first recording by non-indigenous Australians of a community at Kaltjiti was by Ernest Giles. In September 1873 during his second trip into the South Australian interior, he and another party member, William Tietkens, encountered 200 male Aborigines. The Europeans fired shots, allegedly in retaliation for the throwing of spears. The Europeans escaped unharmed - there is no mention of Aboriginal casualties. Giles later acknowledged that Aboriginal aggression was usually due to white trespass on black land. Giles named the river where this occurred "The Officer", by which it was known until the 1930s when it was renamed Officer Creek.
Harold Brown established the first European settlement in 1934 when he was granted the water permit for the Shirley Well block, 60 kilometres south of Ernabella. The well on the north side of the Officer creek was dug near the existing bore and the Browns built their house on the south side.
Brown and his colleague Allan Brumby had been encouraged by R. M. Williams’ stories (of successfully hunting dingoes to facilitate a cull encouraged by Government bounties for dingo scalps) to take up "dogging" themselves. In about 1929 they headed west on a dogging and prospecting trip that took them through the Musgrave and Mann Ranges and as far as Ayers’ Rock. They climbed the rock and left a message in a bottle for the next visitors. By the early 1930s Brown had established a base-camp in the Petermann Range and was dogging as far west as the Rawlinson and Warburton Ranges. Brown sank a successful well near Officer Creek, south of the Musgrave Ranges, and claimed the government reward. He constructed a mud hut and a dug-out dwelling at Shirley Well and ran some sheep, but continued to make long dogging trips westwards. Brown had an Aboriginal wife and several children but in 1934 he married a white woman in Alice Springs. He abandoned his Aboriginal wife and their children, and his new wife joined him at Shirley Well.
The South Australian Government resumed Brown's lease in 1939, and Ernabella gained grazing rights there. After the abortive attempt in 1957 to jointly establish outstations west of Ernabella, it was decided in 1960 to establish an outstation on the Shirley Well block under the umbrella of Ernabella. Aboriginal people were camped at Shirley Well permanently, which made it easy to expand the sheep industry to include this area.
Fregon was built with government assistance in 1961 as a base for cattlemen and their families. According to tradition, the community took the name "Fregon" at that time in honour of a Mrs Fregon of Victoria who donated £5-10,000 to help missionaries establish a bore at the site. A site was chosen 4-5 kilometres south of Shirley Well on the Officer Creek about 60 kilometres south west of Ernabella. The aim of the outstation was to provide training in cattle work and for the families to have access to traditional country in the sandhills to the west. Fregon was administered through Ernabella and it was not until 1968 that it had its own airstrip. It began with a school, a small hospital, a workshop, a small store and staff houses. There were four staff members including a schoolteacher, a nursing sister, an overseer and a cattle manager.
Kaltjiti has an airstrip (to which mail is delivered twice a week). Diesel power generation facilities supply power to the community.
Water is provided from 4 bores and placed in storage tanks for pumping to the community.
Kaltjiti has the Aparawatatja Anangu school (Aparawatatja was the name of the community council formed when Fregon (later Kaltjiti) was incorporated in 1973).
Technical and further education ("TAFE" for short) opportunities are provided to the community.
There is a health facility run by Nganampa Health with a doctor based at the Kaltjiti clinic.
There is a general store supplied fortnightly via road train and forming the main supply for the APY Lands.
The community runs the Kaltjiti Arts and Crafts.
Kaltjiti does not have a permanent police presence. South Australian police are based at Marla and run patrols in the area. There is a rudimentary shed structure that serves as a police station when police are present. The community is served in the absence of SA Police with 1 community constable.
The Uniting Church in Australia has a congregation in Kaltjiti.
A mobile polling booth visits Kaltjiti every 4 years for elections of the Parliament of South Australia.