Kalahari Desert

Written by Michael Federico
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Kalahari Desert trips cover a large portion of southern Africa. Well over half of Botswana is covered by the Kalahari Desert, as are portions of Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa. The region, while extremely arid in places, is not a true desert. Due to the amount of rainfall in certain spots, it is classified as a fossil desert. This rainfall allows a variety of wildlife to survive in the area.

The red brown sands of the Kalahari Desert support lions, hyenas, meerkats, and several species of antelope. A diverse collection of reptiles and birds also thrives in the area. These animals can be viewed on a number of game reserves, including the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which is the second largest protected area in the world. Some extremely rare species dwell within the borders of the park. Enthusiasts from around the world come to view weaver birds, a species that builds communal nests that can stretch up to two meters in diameter.

The Bushman Tribes of the Kalahari Desert

There is a collection of distinct nomadic tribes that spend part of their time in the Kalahari Desert. They do not share a common name, but are collectively called Bushman by most outsiders. It is believed that their people were the first human beings to inhabit southern Africa, and in turn, some of the first human beings to walk the earth.

The past several years have been difficult for the Bushman. Botswana removed them from their borders and placed them in encampments. The country cited the fact that it was too difficult to supply the tribes with water, and that the tribes' presence interfered with conservation efforts. Certain safaris and tours of the Kalahari Desert allow people to learn about the history, culture, and day-to-day existence of the Bushman. It is unclear if this opportunity will still exist in the future.


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