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The Kalahari Desert

Covering parts of three African countries, the Kalahari desert is a sandy stretch of land measuring nine hundred thousand square kilometers and has both arid and semi arid characteristics. It is located in the southern part of Africa, with geography of half desert and half plateau. The Kalahari Desert is also home to some plant and animal life, since there are some small amounts of rainfall that grace it, while summer temperatures are usually very high. It is home to the world’s second largest game reserve, usually referred to as a protected area, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Most geographers have described the Kalahari Desert as a part of a massive sand basin reaching up from Angola to the Orange River. Erosion of soft stone formations led to the creation of the sand masses, and sand shaped ridges which are as a result of the wind. The sand shaped ridges are the distinctive features that define the Kalahari Desert. And unlike sand dunes found in other deserts across the world, those of the Kalahari Desert are stabilized and are known not to wander as they are held together by vegetation. The desert is characterized by Acacia trees and thorny shrubs as the main vegetation. Grasses are also part of the vegetation.

Though a desert of sorts, some scenic features in the Kalahari Desert make it a tourist destination site. One of these great attractions happens to be huge weaver bird nests which at times measure up to two meters in diameter. There is an African tribe known as the San, popularly referred to as Bushmen, were the first known human inhabitants of the Kalahari Desert. Their adaptation to the harsh climatic conditions in the Kalahari made them legendary, though only a small number is currently residing there, owing to the threat modern civilization has posed to its natural resources.

Large Nickel, Copper and Coal deposits have been discovered by mining companies in the Kalahari desert, besides also being home to the world’s largest diamond mines. It is the captivating tales of the bushmen that have made Kalahari desert spot a legendary significance that has made it a mystery to many, and more so the fact that it happens to be the place where the San were forced to survive by the constraints of the modern world. And the abrupt climatic changes also add up to it’s mystery, as one minute it could rain so heavily such that there will be floods that will sweep away everything, while the next minute an unrelenting sun that makes it as dry as ever.