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Kalahari Desert

Kalahari Desert

AfricaBotswana, AfricaNamibia
-23, 22
Kalahari Desert Photo - An isolated bush growing in the sand dunes
Kalahari Desert Photo - A road in the desert, the only sign of human presence
Kalahari Desert Photo - Blue wildebeests (Connochaetes Taurinus)
Kalahari Desert Photo - Gemsboks (Oryx gazella) fighting in Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Park
Kalahari Desert Photo - Red sand dunes
Kalahari Desert Photo - Although considered a desert, Kalahari hosts a wide range of plants and animals

About the Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert is a vast swathe of land covering seven countries; Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Angola, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It stretches over 900,000 km2 (~347,491 sq mi) in total.  The landscape is primarily made up of savannah: large grasslands and small sand dunes. There is only one permanent body of water in the entire Kalahari -  the Okavango Delta in the north.


The Kalahari is not technically a desert. It is dry and hot but it receives a significant amount of rainfall each year, between 11 and 19 cm (~4.3 and 7.5 in). Average temperatures even in the hottest months rarely exceed 28°C (~82°F) compared to an average 38°C (~100°F) in some parts of the Sahara.

Flora and Fauna

The Kalahari is a particularly popular tourist destination for wildlife enthusiasts. A number of game reserves protect a wide variety of mammals, including lions, giraffes, baboons, hyenas, warthogs, antelopes and more. The desert is also home to several species of reptiles and scorpions, including worm lizards, Eastern tiger snakes and the highly venomous Parabuthus granulatus. Some areas of the desert are wetlands during rainy season and flamingos flock to feed there. There are also over 400 identified plant species within the Kalahari, mainly grasses and acacias.


There are a range of activities available, including exploring the landscape by 4x4 (the animal life can be very different by day and by night), walking trails and horse or camel riding. Visiting game reserves will usually provide opportunities to experience the ways of life and cultures of the indigenous peoples, as well as game drives, bird-watching, nature and guided dune walks and star-gazing.  

Landscape: Desert