interesting facts about the Kalahari Desert

10 Cracking Facts about The Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert is one of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world, which is why people from all over travel to discover the arid but gorgeous region! But how about we try discovering a bit about the area right from home? Here are some fun facts about the Kalahari Desert worth remembering.

1. Where is the Kalahari Desert?

The Kalahari Desert can be found in the southern part of Africa. It spreads across multiple countries, including Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.

2. The desert-like… non-desert?

Of course, the Kalahari’s name would have us believe that the area is a desert, but, in fact, it is not! The Kalahari Desert is actually a savannah. Although it is pretty large and very sandy, multiple parts of the Kalahari Desert get good amounts of rainfall and do have some vegetation.

3. It was once a land of many lakes.

The Kalahari Desert, for all it seems arid now, used to play host to several lakes. Today, where the salt pans can be found is where these beautiful lakes used to be. These include the Makgadikgadi Pan and the Nxan Pan.

facts about the Kalahari desert

Quiver Tree, Kalahari

4. How big is the Kalahari Desert, anyway?

The Kalahari Desert covers an area of about 350,000 square miles! It is the sixth biggest desert by area on the planet and the second biggest in Africa, following the Sahara.

5. What does “Kalahari” mean?

As beautiful as the name sounds, it actually represents a lack of water in the area. The name comes from a Tswana word, Kgala, which means “the great thirst.” It is also very close to Kgalagadi, Khalagari, or Kalagare, which all mean “a waterless place.”

6. There are animals out here… if you look closely enough.

As you know, most deserts cannot support animal life. However, since the Kalahari Desert isn’t technically a real desert, there are plenty of sports that are suitable for grazing and therefore allow animals to live there.

In fact, the Kalahari is a veritable paradise for certain animals! It is known for having multiple game reserves and conservation areas. These include the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the Khutse Game Reserve, and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

7. It’s surprisingly untouched.

Much of the Kalahari Desert was very rarely or even ever visited by people! This changed thanks to the invention of motorized vehicles, but even then, until the end of the 50s, there were plenty of areas that were basically unseen and untouched!

8. Bring your sunscreen!

One way in which the Kalahari does resemble a traditional desert is in its harsh temperatures! In the summer, the Kalahari Desert can reach up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit! In the winter, it gets absolutely freezing, reaching about 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

9. The rivers are… temporary?

The Kalahari develops what are known as temporary rivers. These occur during the rainy season in the area, which runs from about October through to April. The Nata, for example, is a temporary river. However, the Kalahari Desert does have one permanent river, the Okavango River.

Fun facts about the Kalahari

Oryx, Namibia

10. It’s home to several tribes.

Not many people can manage living in the Kalahari Desert, yet it is home to multiple tribes. These tribes include the San, Khomani, Kung, Khios (or Hottentots people), Griqua, and Nama (or Namaqua) people.

FAQs about The Kalahari Desert

What is the Kalahari Desert famous for?

The Kalahari Desert is known for its incredible landscapes. In fact, it offers some of the most popular safari experiences in all of Africa, for people to see the area and discover some of the animals in their natural habitats.

Do lions live in the Kalahari Desert?

Yes, there are lions in the Kalahari Desert. In fact, there are lots of them! The lions are known to have a lot of territories spread out across the desert. That is one of the reasons that the area is so popular for safari experiences.

Do snakes live in the Kalahari Desert?

Yes, in fact, the Kalahari Desert is home to many snakes! Some of the most common species include venomous puff adders, tiger snakes, and the aptly named Kalahari purple-glossed snakes.

Further reading

Do you know any fun facts about the Kalahari Desert? Share them in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This page was last modified on July 26, 2023. Suggest an edit

Related 'Africa' Facts