announcement

Share facts or photos of intriguing scientific phenomena.

Kalahari Desert

Kalahari Desert

A popular name in the history of deserts, Kalahari is a fascinating region of Africa, brimming with wildlife and exotic plant species. This article talks about the facts related to this desert and its ecosystem.
Aparna Jadhav
When nature gives birth to something majestic, it takes care of every little detail required for its survival. This stands true for the great Kalahari desert, a creation of nature, where there is not only sand, but life and everything that is needed to support it. This unique basin shaped semi-arid region, is known to be the 6th largest desert in the world, and occupies an area of 900,000 square kilometers, that extends mostly in South Africa, Botswana, and parts of Namibia. The Kalahari basin covers about 2,500,000 square kilometers, further in the three main regions and encroaches in parts of Zambia, Angola, and Zimbabwe.
Facts
Since it is a semi-desert and is situated in a sub tropical region of South Africa, there are many different geographical and physical features found in it. There are two parts of this region, which are located in the southern part of Africa, one is desert and the other is a plateau region. Due to this, there are two different climates observed here, and both support life reasonably.
This is the reason, there are a wide variety of exotic plants and animals, which use it as their home. The river Okavango, flows in the northwest region of the Kalahari basin and provides food and water to the rich wildlife.
Climate
  • As mentioned above, Kalahari consists of two regions with different climatic conditions, and they are the plateau and the desert.
  • The plateau is found to be about 1000 meters elevated in the southern part of Africa.
  • The rest of the region is the desert, and is known to be the largest body of sand which is formed due to windblown sand, and the sand deposited by the river Okavango.
  • Because of these two varied regions, many climate changes are observed. In summers, the temperature of the basin is about 40 degrees C and more, whereas the annual rainfall is above 100 mm.
  • When there is precipitation, there are thunderstorms that are observed, due to which rains are more than usual. Green oasis and greenery is found as a result of this.
  • The winters are from June to August, during which the climate is very pleasant with dry air, and the temperature at this time is around 25 degrees C.
  • However, similar to all desert climates, the nights are extremely cold and thus, the animals are often seen to be moving in herds towards water bodies.
Life
  • The desert is very popular for its rich wildlife and variety of exotic plants found in very few other regions.
  • Let's start with the vegetation found here, which is usually full of deciduous trees, tussocky grass, and low scrub. One of the most common names found here is the camel thorn, which proves to be food and an important part of the ecosystem.
  • Another one is the Shepard's tree, a nutritious white barked tree, which has healthy roots, berries, leaves, etc. There are also many shrubs and bushes, like the melon, ghaap or hoodia cactus, which are also very nutritious for both animals and humans.
  • The animals list include; antelope species like the gemsbok and the springbok, the Kalahari lion (black manes), wildebeest/gnu, cheetahs, brown and spotted hyenas, bat-eared foxes, silver-jackals and the typical Kalahari small meerkats.
Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) fights off African Wild Dogs
Big Cheetah
Bat-eared Fox