The Kalahari Desert
Did you know?
The Kalahari is one of the world's greatest mantles of sand, rivalled only by the Gobi Desert.
The Kalahari Desert is a vast tract of land that extends from the Northern Cape Province through Namibia and most of Botswana. The Kalahari is known as a fossil desert, dating back some 500-million years. It receives small amounts of rainfall - but this enables it to support a surprisingly rich and diverse plant life. The South African part of it is actually a dry savannah with many dramatic Acacia thorn trees and grasses. Its dunes, unlike the Namib Desert's, do not move.
One of the showcases of the Kalahari Desert in South Africa is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the first Transfrontier Park in Africa. This giant park extends between Namibia and Botswana and is a superb game viewing destination with massive herds of antelope and predators, notably the Kalahari lion, cheetah and leopard. The region is famed for its dramatic sunrises and sunsets and its sense of space. The Kalahari Desert climate is dry and hot in summer with limited rain that mostly falls during awe-inspiring thunderstorms.
The Augrabies Falls National Park with its spectacular waterfalls and moonscapes is also in the Kalahari and is open to day visitors and for longer, book-in stays. Culturally the area is renowned for the San people, or Bushmen, who have been living in the Kalahari for thousands of years and are one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer cultures in the world. Many of the guides in the area are San, and every tour offers a glimpse into the secrets of this ancient culture and mysterious place. Camel rides through the desert are also available and a novel way to experience the dramatic red dunes.
Day tours to Augrabies Falls National Park and the town of Upington and the surrounding area are also available. All visitors to this region need to bear in mind that although the summers are extremely hot, the winter mornings and evenings can be bitterly cold.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Northern Cape Tourism
Telephone: 053 833 1434