Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert forms a part of the huge sand basin, extending over 9,00,000 square kilometers, which covers a good area of Botswana, including some parts of Namibia and of South Africa, as a semi-desert, reaches from Orange river till Angola, to Namibia in the west and, to Zimbabwe in the east.

By the erosion of soft stone formations, these vast sand masses of Kalahari Desert were created. The only permanent river in the north-west, the Okavango, that flows into a delta, subsequently forming marshes, which have wild life in abundance. The landscape in the Kalahari has typical sand ridges which are artistically shaped by the wind, and in itself creates an eye catchy scene. Since this is a semi-desert, it provides excellent grazing after good rains.

Though the summer temperature is very high, Kalahari receives small amounts of rainfall also, roughly about 3-7.5 inches of rain per year, which is a special feature of this beautiful desert. During the rainy season, the ancient dry river beds form the standing pools of water. The river beds which were formerly havens to most of the wild life species, have become grazing spots in due course, rarely spotting a leopard or cheetah once in a while. Another noteworthy feature is the strong dunes, which have been forming since 10 to 20,000 years, and have become stabilized through the vegetation. When compared to the dunes of Namib Desert, the ones of Kalahari are much more stable and do not wander frequently. For this same reason, the area should be termed as a dry savannah.

Another specialty is the typical vegetation comprising of grasses, thorny shrubs, bushes and the Acacia trees, which are capable of surviving long drought periods that may extend for more than ten months every year. An eye catchy scene which needs special mention is the weaver bird’s nests, that wrap the branches of the Acacia trees fully, like a blanket. These little birds resembling sparrows live in big communal nests that are often up to two meters in diameter, where hundreds of these birds breed and feed their young ones in these special nesting colonies. The Kalahari can be thus called ‘a sand mass of biodiversity’.