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Desert Landscape

Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari plateau lies at about 1100 metres elevation in southern Africa, and is about the size of France, i.e. 260,000 km2. It is mostly flat, and together with Namibia's Skeleton Coast, it is the worlds largest body of sand. (The Sahara is larger but it only has pockets of sand dunes.)

click on this picture to see a larger image

Although Namibia is more famous for being the home of the Namib much of eastern Namibia is covered by the Kalahari Desert. The Kalahari is not a true desert as it receives too much rain(!), it is actually a fossil desert.

Do not expect to find the tall sand dunes associated with the desert, the landscape is more one of golden grass and small red dunes.

It comprises both windblown sand and, in the north, sand from river deposition. The sandy soil soaks up any rain even in the wetter north and east, so that surface water is rare.

pokwenidune3a.jpg

The area surrounding Pokweni consists of large farms specializing in sheep it has a truly unique atmosphere with herds of Gemsbuck and Springbuck, Ostriches, Eland, squirrels, and many more share this beautiful but arid area together with the local sheep the Dorper Ooi.

Scrub bushes on the dunes

The area is crossed by long red dunes which run from north west to south east in between the dunes are clay pans which occasionally flood with water after heavy rains. Only in recent geological history, 10 to 20,000 years ago, were the dunes stabilised through vegetation.

The Copper Red sand masses were created by the erosion of soft stone formations. The wind shaped the sand ridges, which are so typical of the landscape in the Kalahari.

pokwenidune2a.jpg

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Did You Know that :

deserts cover a third of the earth's surface

13 per cent of the world's population live in deserts

evaporation rates in deserts are often 20 times the annual precipitation

a temperature of 58 C (136.4 F) has been recorded in the shade at Azizia in Libya

no rain fell for over 40 years in the Atacama desert in Chile

night temperatures in some deserts can fall below freezing

sand dunes can reach heights of up to 300m

sand covers less than 20 per cent of the world's desert areas

dust from the Sahara has occasionally been carried as far afield as the UK and Germany

the Sahara Desert accounts for around 8 per cent of the world's land area