Known as the “thirstland”, the world-famous Kalahari Desert covers much of Botswana as well as parts of Namibia and South Africa in southwestern Africa.
The Kalahari belies its designation as a “desert” as it is mostly semi-arid sandy savanna and produces expansive grasslands after the annual rains. These savannas support some of the highest concentrations of wildlife on earth. In the north and the east, dry forests grow Rhodesian teak and acacia trees. Covering about 360,000 square miles, the Kalahari is dotted with national parks and public and private game reserves. As the second largest protected area in the world, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is in the heart of the desert.The desert is still home to the remnants of its ancient human inhabitants, the San Bushmen. These hunter-gatherers now mostly reside in villages within the borders of the desert’s protected areas, and in some areas, are permitted to continue their ancient hunting traditions. From the Okavango to Deception Valley to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the Kalahari Desert is the epitome of African vigor and diversity.
The Kalahari region is world-renowned for its wildlife diversity and is home to some of Africa’s most indelible images. Lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena, and packs of wild dog stalk the migrating herds of springbok, gemsbok, eland, wildebeest, hartebeest, kudu, and duiker. Herds of giraffe, elephant, and zebra traverse the plains in search of food and waterholes.