The Kalahari is not officially categorised as a desert but is rather a savanna environment of wide open grasslands and stunted acacias supporting far more life than the Namib desert. The driest areas usually receive 110–200 millimetres (4.3–7.9 in) of rain per year, and the wettest just a little over 500 millimetres (20 in).
River beds are grazing spots for antelope, elephant, giraffe but you occasionally see a cheetah. It covers 900,000 km square over Botswana, South Africa and Namibia. As such it is home to many interesting wildlife species including meerkat (suricate), porcupine, bat-eared fox, Oryx, ostrich, wildebeest and zebra.
Our clients often spend one night on the way back to Windhoek at Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch on the edge of the Southern Kalahari in the mixed tree and shrub savanna.
The ranch is characterised by huge red sands dunes running parallel, and in a northern-westerly to south-easterly direction. The valleys in between the parallel dunes are commonly known as ‘streets’.
The word ‘Kalahari’ means wilderness and comes from the Tswana word Kgali meaning 'great thirst' and it is the relative inaccessibility and harsh environment with endless red sand dunes, uncertain rainfall and lack of surface water, which make it stand out as one of Africa’s last frontiers.
The San people of the Kalahari have been living here as hunter-gatherers for over 20,000 years.