The Kalahari Desert
You’ve no doubt heard of this mystical desert. The Kalahari Desert resonates across the common consciousness. It is a place of wonder, beauty, and austerity. It’s the home to the San, and debatably is the cradle of humankind.
While a Desert, the Kalahari is home to an abundant wildlife which includes great numbers of wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, hyena, and buck. The area is also acclaimed for its black maned lions, an iconic site. The Kalahari also happens to be the area where you would be most likely to see a cheetah in the wild. Cheetah numbers have dropped worldwide over the past years, but a healthy population still thrives in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Owing to the absence of green hiding places, the Kalahari is the perfect place to observe some of the smaller and more interesting creatures such as the honey badger, porcupine, meerket, and – if you’re very lucky – the pangolin.
The Kalahari is probably most famous for being home to the San group of hunter gatherers. The San, an iconic group of hunter gatherers, have called the Kalahari home for over 50,000 years. That’s a lot. And over time they have developed a unique skillset that helps them survive the hardships of the Kalahari. The San attitude towards life is nonchalant and their laughter is infectious. They care little for material possession, and are far more concerned with giving thanks to all mother earth for what she provides them. They have no words for possessives such as ‘mine’ and ‘yours’, but they have 20 different words to describe a smile. Any trip to the area should include spending time with the San – whether in a community or on a walk tracking game the traditional way.
Best time of year to visit
An abundant wildlife and permanent wetlands mean that one can visit the Kwando region year round. However, sometimes of the year are more favorable owing to the heat and rainfall.
June to August is considered the prime season for travelers. Water flowing down from the Kwando River in Angola reaches the Kwando region during this time, and estuaries open up. This allows visitors to explore a larger area of the Kwando river system by boat. It is also during this time that many animals migrate to the delta allowing for spectacular game viewing opportunities.
September to October are also great months to visit the Kwando. During these slightly hotter months, animals move towards the water source from around the country, and game viewing is sublime.
November to April is considered the rainy season. However, rainfall is generally few and far in-between. Birdwatching during this time is particularly phenomenal.
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