The Kalahari Desert
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.
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.
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
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.