The word 'Kalahari' is derived from the Tswana word Kgala, meaning ‘the great thirst’, or Kgalagadi, meaning ‘waterless place’ - apt since the Kalahari is one of the largest areas of semi-desert in the world. The 900,000 square kilometres of semi-arid land covers much of Botswana, and parts of Namibia and South Africa.
Set against a breathtaking landscape of vast, red sand plains and dramatic hills, the fauna and flora heighten the beauty of the spectacular surroundings. The Kalahari has very little permanent surface water, and experiences flash flooding in the winter months. Being the only permanent river, the Okavango attracts an array of magnificent wildlife, especially where it comes to an end in the Okavango Delta, on the outskirts of the desert. The desert is famous for its magnificent black-maned lions, which can be spotted traversing the sandy plains. Also home to a host of migratory animals, the Kalahari sees thousands of pelicans and flamingos flock to the flooded pans in the rainy season.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the second largest game reserve in the world, spanning a massive 52,800 square kilometres. Many of Africa’s finest wildlife can be found within the reserve like the South African giraffe, Cape wild dog and Transvaal lion to name a few.
The climate in the desert is known for being harsh and unforgiving, with extreme heat in summer and temperatures dropping below zero degrees celsius in winter, especially at night time. Make sure you are well packed and prepared for this intense environment.
When looking for places to stay, choose from the impressive range of Kalahari Safari Lodges, which will ensure you get the most out of your desert experience. Sit and watch birds and animals as they go about their daily watering-hole routines, safely from the deck of your Kalahari Safari Lodge.
A trip to the Kalahari is a great way to get closer to the heart of Africa.