The Kalahari Desert which is also referred to as Kgalagadi in Botswana spans seven countries.
Namibia might be known for the world famous Namib Desert but it is not the only desert the country has to offer. The majority of the eastern and southern Namibia are covered by the Kalahari Desert. The Kalahari cant technically be described as a desert because it receives too much rain, its actually a fossil desert. It has a landscape filled with golden grass and small red dunes. The Kalahari Desert which is also referred to as Kgalagadi in Botswana spans seven countries Botswana; Zambia; South Africa; Zimbabwe; Namibia; Angola and DRC. Its referred to as a desert because of its porous sandy soil which cannot retain surface water. The Namibian part of the desert is covered with trees; ephemeral rivers and fossil watercourses. The area receives a reasonable amount of rainfall which allows for a large number of flora and fauna to thrive in the area. Vegetation in the area includes camelthorn; red ebony and other acacias; silver terminalia and shrubs; kiaat also known as wild teak; Zambezi teak also known as mkusi or Rhodesian teak; wild seringa and shiwi. The bush and grass provide the ideal ambush cover for cheetah to catch prey such as springbok; hare and porcupine off guard. Other wildlife in the area include springbok; hare; porcupine; giraffes; zebra; black-backed jackal; antelope and black-footed cats. Primates such as the bushbaby and vervet monkey; aardwolf; honey badger; meerkat and yellow mongoose all call the desert home. Arnhem Caves is one of the largest cave systems in Africa and the giant-leafed nosed-bat which is the largest insect eating bat in the world can be found in the cave as well as other cave dwellers.
There are also a number of birds in the area to satisfy any birding enthusiasts curiosity. Species that can be found in the area include the martial eagle; brown snake eagle; black-breasted snake eagle; white-backed and lappet-faced vulture. The red-necked falcon will feed on snakes; bats and rodents. Crimson-breasted shrike; rosy-faced lovebird; Gaber goshawk; pygmy falcon and ant-eating chats can be seen in the area. Of course the Kalahari has its own share of reptiles and scorpions. The Kalahari purple-glossed snake lives in the sandy soil. The Eastern tiger snakes climb dead trees and into buildings in search of small birds and bats. One of the most common snakes in the area is the puff adder. The Kalahari holds the largest species of scorpions in southern Africa. The largest and most common scorpion in the desert is the Parabuthus raudus which can reach up to 160mm in length. The regular rainfall supports a large variety of plant life as well. The most well known inhabitants are the San Bushmen. The term bushmen refers to the nomadic hunter-gather people who are also called Basarwa in Botswana and San in Namibia and South Africa. The word San means ‘foragers’ and in modern times has negative connotations. The bushmen are remnants of southern Africa’s original inhabitants who occupied the entire sub-continent way before black and white settlers invaded their territories.
There are a number of accommodations available in the area including Sandune Lodge and Africa Safari Lodge for starters.
Sandune Game Lodge is set on fenced game farm that spans about 4600 hectares. It is located about 160km from Windhoek International Airport on the B6 to the Botswana border. The area has over 1000 game consisting of 13 different species. The lodge consists of a guest house; wooden bush lodge and luxury safari tented en-suite accommodation. The main dining area is covered by shady trees and has panoramic views of the spotlit waterhole. Guests can catch glimpses of kudu; blue wildebeest; birds of prey and small antelope as they stop at the waterhole for a drink and to graze. Accommodation at the lodge includes the Sandune guest house which has seven twin en-suite rooms which are either single or double and include three sharing units with two bedrooms each for a maximum of four people and have a viewing deck. All the rooms have electric lights and plug-in points; mosquito repellents; shaving and room mirrors; hair dryers; overhead roof fans and a room safe. The Sandune Safari Bush Villa is 8km from the main lodge. There is one honeymoon suite and two en-suite rooms with solar lighting; mosquito nets; room safes and room mirrors. The honeymoon suite is in a two storey high room with patio. Meals are prepared by a personal chef. The Sandune Lodge offers tented accommodation within walking distance of the main lodge. There are three en-suite bush tents equipped wit showers; tea/coffee station; solar lighting and lanterns. The Sandune Bush tent accommodation option is 6km from the main lodge. There are three tents situated on the perimeters of waterholes where guests can view a variety of wildlife. Power is from solar energy and lantern lights an en-suite covered showers, each tent also has a tea/coffee station.
Africa Safari Lodge is located 25km west of Mariental. The restaurant not only has a professional chef who prepares delectable meals which are accompanied by delecious wines but it has amazing views of the surrounding plains. Guests can also dine outdoors at the lodge’s boma. The lodge has a wellness spa which uses local Kalahari products which are made using locally harvested components. Accommodation at the lodge consists of 20 en-suite rooms with panoramic views of the surrounding area. Each room is equipped with air conditioning; TV with DSTV as well as tea/coffee stations. WiFi is available at the main lodge.