10 Surprising Kalahari Desert Facts


Kalahari Desert is a large basin-like plain. It occupies a large part of Botswana, the northernmost part of the Northern Cape Province in South Africa, and the eastern third of Namibia. The Kalahari has a long north-south extent which is roughly 1,000 miles, while the east-west stretch is about 600 miles. Here are 10 Surprising Kalahari Desert Facts that might interest you in one way or another.

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10 Surprising Kalahari Desert Facts

1. Physiographic

Did you know that the Kalahari Dessert is featureless? Yap, this undulating, sand-covered plain that is about 3,000 feet above sea level is kind of featureless. Its bedrock is exposed in the low yet vertical- walled hills that are called kopjes.

 2. Did you know that the entire western Kalahari Desert has long chains of dunes, and they are oriented roughly to the northwest? The dunes can measure to a length of at least 1 mile and a height of about 20 – 200 feet. The dunes are separated from one another by some broad parallel depression that has locally been named straat – meaning a lane or street.

3. Coverage area

The Kalahari Desert covers an amazing 350,000 square miles. It is known as a semi-desert as it gets some little rainfall and can support more animals and plants compared to the other conventional dry deserts.

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4. Did you know that the name Kalahari is taken from a local word and it actually means a waterless place? Ok. If you didn’t know, now you know. However, the sand can retain water quite better than some of the other deserts you’ve probably heard of. This is one of the deserts where one can actually notice a variety of plants.

5. Kalahari Desert is quite rich with minerals and resources. Did you know that the Kalahari Desert has some of the largest diamond mines in the whole World? The area is also very rich with nickel, copper, and coal. If you thought the Kalahari Desert is an area with minimal activity, you will eventually notice that it is quite an active zone.

6. Kalahari Desert covers three major countries. As I had earlier stated, this vast area covers part of South Africa, most of Botswana and parts of Namibia. Meaning this Desert is situated in the southern part of Africa. The desert hosts the World’s oldest culture known as the San Bushmen. This culture has lived in this desert for almost 20,000 years.

7. Did you know that the Kalahari Desert supported more plants and animals than it does now. Almost 1,000 years ago, the desert had several large lakes, with time the lakes evaporated and left large salt craters or pans that can still be seen up-to-date.

8. Did you know that the Kalahari Dessert features in two great movies; first is the comedy known as “The Gods Must be Crazy” and the famous animation ‘The Lion King’. The desert is home to various specie of birds. During the summer, temperatures in this desert reach a peak of 100 degrees and then freeze during the winter. And it has only one permanent flowing river known as Okavango River.

9. The Kalahari is the second largest dessert in Africa after the Sahara and is the sixth in the whole World. The dessert hosts a number of game reserves, and the World’s largest Antelope known as Eland is also found in this area. The Eland can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. The dessert also hosts dangerous big cats including the lion, leopard, and the cheetah. Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the second largest protected area in the world at the moment; this shows how important it is regarded.

10. It is believed that the Kalahari Dessert came to existence approximately 60 million year back almost the same time with the formation of the continent. The desert has some huge subterranean water reserves, the Dragon’s Breath Cave is an example and it is one of the largest documented non-sub-glacial underground lakes on the entire universe.

The Kalahari Dessert closely resembles some of the Australian deserts in the same latitude and the mode of formation.

The above should sum up my 10 surprising Kalahari Desert Facts, though the area is quite abundant with facts that are quite surprising to me. Kalahari seems to have a lot of activities going on and proves to be quite an interesting place to experience game reserves and do so many other things as a tourist.

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