May 9, 200603:15 PMThe Life
Deserts of the world: Kalahari
May 9, 2006 - 03:15 PMThe Kalahari Desert is a large arid-to-semi-arid sandy area in southern Africa extending over 220,000 square miles and covering much of Botswana, and parts of Namibia and South Africa. Ancient dry riverbeds traverse the northern reaches of the Kalahari and provide standing pools of water during the rainy season. Previously havens for elephants, giraffes, lions and cheetahs, the riverbeds are now mostly grazing spots, though cheetahs can still be found. [Click thumbnail photo to enlarge.]
Derived from the Tswana word "Kgalagadi" ("the great thirst"), the Kalahari has vast areas covered by red-brown sands without any permanent surface water. However, the Kalahari is not a true desert. Some regions receive over 10 inches of rainfall annually and are quite well vegetated. It is truly arid only in the southwest, making the Kalahari a fossil desert.