The Kalahari stretches from the Northern Cape Province of South Africa into the Central African Republic, through arid wilderness, lush deltas and tropical rain forests.
© View from your tent at San Camp. Makgadikgadi
The Heart of the Kalahari
Although stretching across much of southern Africa
it is in the heartland of Botswana that the Kalahari is at its most beguiling. Here the Kalahari is a place of wide skies and far horizons, a place where you can hear absolute silence during the night between the distant roars of a patrolling lion.
The name Kalahari is ingrained in many peoples' minds from an early age, holding revered status and indicating a vast desert land
. What many people do not know is that the Kalahari is not a true desert for it gets a higher rainfall than the average classification for a desert. It is only in the southern reaches where the sand dunes show any sign of barrenness but for the rest the Kalahari is a vegetated area of rolling dunes and grass.
The Kalahari also supports a great diversity of wildlife
, with many of the animals having adapted to not drinking water, but rather getting their water needs from the food they eat and limiting water loss through various adaptations.
Haven from persecution
Water is available in the Kalahari for those who know where to look. The original inhabitants of the Kalahari, the Bushmen, were forced into the dry interior by persecution at the hands of the settlers moving north and the black tribes moving south.
The Bushmen had to adapt to the harsh environment and so learnt to find water and food and today they can find a water filled tuber underground by looking for dead twigs sticking from the surface.
The Cry of the Kalahari
Although the Kalahari is a place where you can hear absolute silence it is also a place of sounds that are amplified in the vastness. There is a special moment in the Kalahari when the first Black-backed Jackal calls across the plains and after a moments silence it is answered by others. This sound truly epitomises the place. No wonder it is referred to as the Cry of the Kalahari.
The Kalahari can be a very intimidating place in its silence and vastness, a place so foreign to us now that we fear it, fearing not been able to hear any sounds around us - but if you love the silence of space then the Kalahari is calling.
The Kalahari is an exciting place and should be on everybody's "must experience' list rather than the 'must see' list for it is an experience rather than commodity.