Of all the deserts that we have covered so far, we love the Kalahari Desert the most. We don’t know why but there is something in the name that inspires awe.
The name instills a sense of dismay while at the same time, it emanates an uncanny attraction. Your opinion may be different. Nonetheless, today we bring to you a run down of 61 meticulous Kalahari Desert facts.
We hope that you will like the facts and learn a great deal about the desert from the.
So, without further ado, let us begin…
Kalahari Desert Facts: 1-5
1. Kalahari Desert is the world’s sixth largest desert.
2. The Kalahari Desert is a subtropical desert.
3. It is a semi-arid savanna (grassland ecosystem) which covers parts of Botswana, South Africa and Namibia.
4. Kalahari word originates from Kgala (meaning great thirst) or Kgalagadi (meaning waterless place), both Tswana words (one of the languages of South Africa).
5. The desert is filled with dry valleys and salt flats or salt pans (ground covered by salt and other minerals).
Kalahari Desert Facts: 6-10
6. Makgadikgadi Pan is present in Botswana and Etosha Pan is present in Namibia.
7. Okavango River is the only permanent river which flows in the northwest area of Kalahari Desert.
8. Okavango river supports marshes which have rich flora and fauna.
9. Ancient and dry riverbeds called omuramba are present in the central northern parts of the desert.
10. During the rainy season, pools are formed in these dry riverbeds.
Kalahari Desert Facts: 11-15
11. The desert has an area of approximately 360,000 square miles or 930,000 square kilometers.
12. It is present in the Kalahari Basin which is present in parts of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Angola, Zimbabwe.
13. The Kalahari Basin has an area of 970,000 square miles or 2,500,000 square kilometers.
14. As said earlier, it is a semi-arid desert and it provides good grazing destination for the animals after heavy rainfall.
15. The driest areas of the desert receive 110-200 millimeters of rainfall annually.
Kalahari Desert Facts: 16-20
16. The wettest areas receive more than 500 millimeters of rainfall annually.
17. The climate is mostly semi-humid in the northern and eastern areas of the desert which host salt lakes, savannas, dry forests etc.
18. Southern and western parts are semi-arid and are a xeric savanna.
19. The desert is in the subtropical region. The south side of the desert is similar to the climate of Sahel, i.e. it has wet season during the summers.
20. Sahel is a biogeographic area which separates Sahara Desert and a savanna.
Kalahari Desert Facts: 21-25
21. The altitude of Kalahari Desert is around 600 to 1600 meters and is cooler than Sahara or Sahel region.
22. The temperature of Kalahari Desert is usually above 18 degrees Celsius.
23. Usually the temperature doesn’t exceed 29 degrees Celsius which is way lower than the Sahel or the Sahara region.
24. Some regions of Kalahari Desert experience temperature more than 45 degrees Celsius.
25. Winter frost is also usually seen during the months of June to August.
Kalahari Desert Facts: 26-30
26. The wet season lasts for around 1 to 4 months depending on the location.
27. The dry season at Kalahari Desert lasts for either 8 or more than 8 months.
28. South is the driest area of the Kalahari Desert.
29. During the summer time, the regions that experience rainfall usually experience thunderstorms as well.
30. The north-west and the north regions of the Kalahari Desert experience two types of circulation of winds in alteration. They are:
Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) brings the rain during wet season. (seen in Sahel region as well).
Continental Trade winds which are responsible for the dry season.
Kalahari Desert Facts: 31-35
31. Maritime Trade winds are dominant in the rest of the parts of the desert. However, they lose their moisture while crossing the Southern African Great Escarpment.
32. There are many underground water reserves in Kalahari Desert.
33. The largest reported non-subglacial underground lake on the earth is the Dragon’s Breath Cave.
34. Earlier Kalahari was a wetter place than what it is now. Lake Makgadikgadi (an ancient lake) was dominant in Botswana.
35. It is estimated that the Lake Makgadikgadi either dried out or drained out some 10,000 years ago.
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Kalahari Desert Facts: 36-40
36. It is also estimated that Lake Makgadikgadi spanned over an area of 46,000 square miles or 120,000 square kilometers.
37. Reconstruction of the past 250,000 years of the history of Kalahari Desert has revealed that the place went through cycles of extensive lakes followed by extremely drier periods (even drier to what it is now).
38. During the past drier periods, the Kalahari Desert managed to expand. It is this expansion that allowed the desert to include certain areas of Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
39. As mentioned earlier, Kalahari hosts many species of flora and fauna than a typical desert does. It has thick ground cover than usually seen in other deserts.
40. It is the low rainfall in Kalahari Desert that qualifies it to be classified as a desert.
Kalahari Desert Facts: 41-45
41. The only region which actually lacks a proper ground cover is the southwest part of the Kalahari Desert.
42. Xeric savanna (xeric shrublands is a biome which receives very less precipitation usually below 250 millimeters of rainfall) is the primary vegetation found in the Kalahari Desert’s southern and western sides.
43. World Wildlife Fund has identified this area as an ecoregion (a region which contains different species, environmental conditions in a given geographical area).
44. The flora seen in Kalahari are savanna grasses like Schmidtia, Aristida etc., and lots of trees of Acacia and Terminalia genus.
45. Kiwano fruit is endemic to Kalahari Desert.
Kalahari Desert Facts: 46-50
46. Kiwano fruit has several other names such as Hedged Gourd, Jelly Melon, African Horned Cucumber, Melano, Horned Melon, etc.
47. Plants of Acacia and Baikiaea genus rule the drier areas and such areas are called Kalahari Acacia-Baikiaea woodlands.
48. In the Kalahari basin (outside Kalahari Desert), halophytic vegetation (plants which grow in high salinity areas) is seen.
49. Near the Okavango Delta, a totally different vegetation is seen which is accustomed to perennial freshwater.
50. Many migratory birds and animals call Kalahari their home. Cheetahs, spotted hyena, Cape wild dog, lions, leopards, wildebeest, porcupines, antelopes, springbok etc. are present in this desert.
Kalahari Desert Facts: 51-55
51. Birds such as eagles, falcons, kestrels, owls, goshawks, secretary birds etc. are present.
52. Kalahari Desert was formed when Africa continent was formed some sixty million years ago. The Desert resembles the deserts of Australia in its formation mode and its latitude.
53. Some places like Makgadikgadi Pans are seasonal wetlands and hence support many halophilic species of plants. During the rainy season, tens of thousands of flamingos visit these places.
54. Many game reserves (Huge area in which wild animals live protected but these reserves allow limited hunting. They focus mostly on animals only. They are also known as wildlife reserves.) are present in the Kalahari region.
55. Some of the wildlife reserves are Central Kalahari Game Reserve (second largest wildlife park in the world), Kgalagadi Transformer Park etc.
Kalahari Desert Facts: 56-61
56. The animals which are usually protected in such reserves are jackals, hyenas, springbok, chacma baboons, hartebeest, Kudu, etc.
57. Overgrazing by the cattle and fencing to manage the herds pose a serious threat to the ecosystem of the Kalahari Desert.
58. Fencing has been found to remove plant cover from the savanna and thereby causing habitation and ecosystem destruction.
59. Many predators are also killed every year to protect the cattle. The predators are either hunted down by cattle ranchers or they are poisoned.
60. De Beers’ Gem Diamonds/Gope Exploration Company (Pty) Ltd. conducts mining activities within the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
61. Many towns like Orapa, Gobabis, Tshane, Noenieput etc. are seen within the Kalahari.