The Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert runs through different countries in the southern part of the African continent and Namibia is one of them. A place which is considered to be a Desert is done after looking at the precipitation that is received in the area and that is the rainfall is always less than 50 millimeters and that is why some people refer to the Kalahari Desert as a semi Desert because it receives rainfall that runs between 100 and 650 millimeters. The temperatures that is received in the Kalahari keeps on changing and during the day, it gets pretty high and you will need to take lots of water whereas when it comes to the night it sometimes becomes too cold.

Due to the constant rainfall that is received in the Kalahari, you will find that it has various vegetation types and is a home to numerous wild animals that are getting used to the hot and cold conditions that habitate within the Desert. The most commonly seen vegetation is mostly shrub and these are believed to stay in the Desert conditions for about ten months during the dry season and the other vegetation type that can be found in the Kalahari Desert are the Acacia trees that have been known to stand the tough dry conditions for a long time.

Game viewing in the Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert is a home to many animals and these can be seen during the dry season especially because this is the time that they come out to the different seasonal waterholes in the Desert and a game drive through the Desert is best done in the morning when the sun is not too much and some of the animals that you will get to see include ostriches, antelopes, the black maned lions, meerkats which are referred to as the pride of the African Desert,, brown hyenas, the Kalahari red, cheetahs, warthogs and many more other species. while on a drive through the Kalahari desert you will need to take a lot of water with you to keep hydrated, dress appropriately during the day so that you do not become too hot, a large brimmed hat to keep sun rays away and it is better if you do whatever the tour guide tells you to do so that you enjoy your safari in the Kalahari.

Birding in the Kalahari

Even though the Kalahari receives rainfall that is above 100 millimeters, not every part of the Desert is good for birding and this activity can only be carried out in the central part of the Desert known as the central Kalahari. There are about 250 bird species here and some of the most commonly seen bird species include the red billed Queleas, the common kestrel, the chat flycatcher, the Namaqua dove, the martial eagle, the double banded sandgrouse, the black shouldered kite, the red crested bustard, ostriches, the red billed francolin and many more other species.

Drive to the red Desert dunes

Unlike the high and mighty sand dunes that are located within the Namib Desert, the red Desert dunes that are located within the Kalahari Desert are not that high and impressive but they are worth a visit while you take a trip through the desert. You will need a 4×4 car to get you through the sandy roads and with the help of your tour guide, you might as well try to hike up the red Desert dunes just for fun and adventure. They are however best visited during the morning hours and dry season before the heat becomes unbearable and you will also need a lot water as you hike up and around the red dunes and this is also an opportunity for all those that love photography to go to the Desert and also take as many photos as they want.

Camping within the Kalahari

The best campsite where one can stay while in the Kalahari Desert is the Anib campsite and many tourists can be seen camping here and enjoying the stars. And just like any other campsite that is located within Namibia, you need to follow all the regulations that govern every campsite and follow all that the tour guides tell you to do. If you are lucky you will be able to spot a few nocturnal animals that roam the Desert next to the campsite but the best activity that can be carried out here is to do star gazing and get to know the different stars and probably get to name the different constellations. You will be provided with some of the basic necessities and food that is prepared by the locals.

The san Bushmen in Kalahari

The Kalahari Desert is also a home to the San Bushmen who are believed to be the first inhabitants of Namibia and these have a rich history that runs from the ancient times before even the colonialists came into the country and a walk to their homes will leave you with enough knowledge to last your entire life on how to survive in one of the most harsh conditions in the country.

The San Bushmen are known to be good story tellers and their stories are majorly told in songs, poems and dance. The elders in the group normally tell the stories to the young ones and these stories help the young San survive in the harsh conditions, learn how to hunt and track down animals at an early age and these stories are also told to all the tourists who visit their homes. The women and children normally carry out the dancing and singing and if you go with a tour guide, these will help you translate what the songs and poems are all about.

The San Bushmen who are also known for their ardent rock painting all over Namibia that has been running for many years that even some rock art is dated a thousand years ago. They are famously known for the rock painting of the white lady at the Brandberg Mountain and the famous rock engravings that can be seen at the Twyfelfontein rocks while trekking.

The San bushmen used to use rudimentary tools for hunting and home use and these can be seen in the different rock paintings that are found in the different parts of the country that were made out of rocks and these helped them before they started using the bows and arrows for hunting. But at the moment the hunting has been reduced and this is due to the fact that the government has prohibited them from hunting in order to protect the endangered wild animals in the country. When you visit the San Bushmen, you will notice that most of the Bushmen now are into farming and animal rearing so that they can survive.

A trip to the San Bushmen will leave you with enough knowledge to survive the semi-Desert conditions that is you will learn how to harvest water from underground using a stick and from the special leaves that can also be squeezed so that you get water during the dry season.

The San Bushmen are craftsmen who are good at weaving and making jewelry out of beads and these are sold to the tourists in order to make a living and these beads can be worn as a head bead, wrists and the necks. These are made of different colors and it also depends on the sex that is the carved beads are made for the men and the threaded beads are made for the women. The san Bushmen also take tourists for bush walks and nature walks around the Kalahari desert while telling and explaining all that you will be able to see while on your bush walk through the Kalahari Desert and this was a project that was started in 2008.

Kalahari Desert tours in Namibia can be done almost throughout the whole year and this is due to their weather and irrelevant of the dry nature, it is one of the best places for tourists to visit while in Namibia. There are several tour guides who can help you arrange your trip to the Kalahari and all these need to be booked in advance so that you get to get some of the best services that can be provided while on a trip to the Kalahari in Namibia.

 The Kalahari Desert in southern Africa is a name to reckon with when it comes to Safaris and wildlife adventures in Namibia. It is preferably called Kgalagadi Desert in Botswana. In Namibia it is identified as a desert because of the dry grassland plains that stretch for several miles, sandy soils that don’t hold water that comes very few times a year.

Kalahari Desert Facts

The Kalahari Desert map stretches across 7 countries that include Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola and DR Congo. Much of the desert is shared by Namibia, Botswana and South Africa but the overall area covered by this desert is approximated at 900,000sq km.

The total area of the Kalahari Desert is covered by raising sand dunes, trees, dry grasslands and ephemeral rivers and fossil streams. There are a variety of Kalahari desert plants growing in different part of the desert. In the south are Kalahari camel thorn trees, red ebony and other acacias while silver terminalia and shrubs are common in the central part.  The north receives more rains than any other part of the Kalahari thus its rich vegetation of  acacia, heavy savannah and dry woodland of Transvaal Teak, Zambezi teak, wild seringa, manketti, shiwi and other magnificent timber species. Large numbers of Tamboti trees grow in the Grootfontein area. But the Kalahari’s true lure lies in it’s eerie silence and solitude, both in the sparsely grassed plains and open spaces, also home to huge numbers of game and other animals.

Kalahari People

The Kalahari has a small, but scattered population due to scanty rainfall patterns and largely dry weather conditions. In Namibia and South Africa, there are large ranches rearing sheep and the ostrich while private ranches are what condition the Kalahari Desert map for Botswana.  Still in Botswana, the land is mainly used on a communal basis, with the inhabitants raising goats and cattle.

The main inhabitants of the Kalahari Namibia desert are the Kalahari Bushmen.  A few of the remaining Bushmen are used as cheap farm labor on private ranches within the desert. The bushmen of the Kalahari were famed in the early 1980 film productions such as ‘Gods Must Be Crazy I & II‘, among many other films that were made to try to sensitize the Kalahari population to leave the desert for more habitable places else where in Namibia.

But the San Bushmen are a proud people, and are keen to demonstrate their origins and knowledge of living in the bushveld. They still retain some specific cultural and linguistic characteristics such as the very interesting and unique ‘click’ language, and listening to is a wonderful experience in itself.

There are the several rock paintings  in caves and rock shelters all over southern Africa that show that these bush men have lived in such areas for a long time. In Namibia, excellent examples of Bushman rock art can be found in the Damaraland region.

Weather

There are small amounts of rainfall and the summer temperature is very high. It usually receives 76–190 mm of rainfall annually. The surrounding Kalahari Basin covers over 2,500,000 square kilometres extending farther into Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, and encroaching into parts of Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The only permanent river, the Okavango, flows into a delta in the northwest, forming marshes that are rich in wildlife. Ancient dry riverbeds—called omuramba—traverse the Central

Northern reaches of the Kalahari and provide standing pools of water during the rainy season. Previously havens for wild animals from elephant to giraffe, and for predators such as lion and cheetah, the riverbeds are now mostly grazing spots, though leopard or cheetah can still be found.

Kalahari Desert Wildlife

The Kalahari has a number of game reserves that include the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana which is the world’s second largest protected area. Khutse Game Reserve in Namibia, Kalahari Gemsbok National Park of South Africa and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park that stretches into the borders of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa are the other game reserves from the Kalahari Desert. Animals in the Kalahari Desert include brown hyenas, lions, Kalahari meerkats, giraffes, warthogs, jackals, eland, gemsbok, springbok, hartebeest, steenbok, kudu,duiker and many species of birds and reptiles

Accommodation

There is indeed plenty of accommodation within the Kalahari Desert giving you no excuse of not visiting Namibia Kalahari or even Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. You’ll find every thing from luxury Kalahari Desert hotels, standard game lodges, tented safari camps and bush camps.

Namibia Hotels and Lodges in Northern part of the Kalahari Desert include Aru Game Lodge, Anhem Cave Rest Camp, Eningu Clay House, Kalahari Bush Breaks, Kiripotib Guest Farm and Sandune Lodge.

From the Southern part of the Namibia Kalahari desert are Aub Lodge, Bagatelle Kalahari Lodges, Bitterwasser Lodge, Camelthorn Kalahari Lodge, Hardap Dam Resort, Kalahari Anib Lodge, Kalahari Farmhouse, Surricate Kalahari Tented Camp and Zebra Kalahari Lodge.

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