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Posted by on Apr 25, 2020 in TellMeWhy |

Why Is the Kalahari Important? Why Is It Not Considered True Desert?

Why Is the Kalahari Important? Why Is It Not Considered True Desert?

Kalahari is a large region of semi-desert, stretching across Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. Its area is about 932400 sq km (360000 sq miles). It is the 6th biggest deserts by area on earth and the second biggest in Africa after the Sahara.

Most of the desert is not considered true desert, due to the amount of rainfall the area receives. The annual rainfall varies from 50 cm (20 in) in the north-east to 12 cm (5 in) in the south-west. Although huge tracts of land provide excellent grazing areas after good rains, there is still a great deal of the desert that remains arid and covered by vast expanses of red sand.

The sands of the desert are an important and forgotten storehouse of carbon dioxide taken from the world’s atmosphere. Sands like those in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana are full of cyanobacteria. These drought resistant bacteria can fix atmospheric carbon dioxide, and together they add significant quantities of organic matter to the nutrient deficient sands.

Its few inhabitants are Bushmen, one of the world’s oldest races, and Bantu tribes live on the outskirts of the region. A native people to the Kalahari Desert, the San people, have lived in this region for nearly 20,000 years. As foragers, they have survived on remarkable methods of hunting with bow and arrow, and gathering the fruits, insects and roots.

kalahari san bushman

Due to the lack of water resources, the San collect rain water in blown-out ostrich eggs, and acquire much of their daily water from roots and fruits on or under the desert floor. Only a small number of the San still practice and follow the traditional Kalahari way of life due to the threatening influence of industrial civilization.

Kalahari was once a much wetter place. The ancient Lake Makgadikgadi dominated the area, covering the Makgadikgadi Pan and other areas, until its final drainage some 10,000 years ago. It may have once covered as much as 275,000 square kilometres (106,000 sq mi). The Kalahari gets very hot; it can reach temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer. In winter the desert has a dry, cold climate where the temperature can reach 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).

The extraordinary landscape of the Kalahari Desert and the fantastic phenomena of an arid, fossil desert teeming with spectacular flora and fauna is an outstanding sight for safari lovers. An ideal travel destination if you also go and visit the Chobe National Park plus the Okavango Delta, which will give you a real sense of Botswana.

Most visitors that go to the Kalahari Desert tend to travel to the Central Kalahari game Reserve, an absolutely enormous reserve in the middle of the country. The closest town is Maun, with regular flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town along with other destinations in Botswana. Travellers can also go and check out the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park which spills around into Botswana.

Content for this question contributed by Alan Ladd, resident of Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California, USA