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The landscape of the southern Kalahari region in southeast Namibia features red sand dunes scattered with grass, shrubs and camel thorn trees.
This vast arid region is a harsh environment, with long dried-up river beds and huge salt pans, yet it provides the setting for excellent wildlife-viewing and fascinating cultural encounters with the San bushmen who live in this semi-desert.
Whilst there isn’t a national park in the areas of Namibia covered by the Kalahari, there are several lodges which allow visitors to explore this desert area.
The lodges offer guided drives to spot the desert-adapted wildlife - including blue wildebeest, eland, springbok, oryx, giraffe, zebra, meerkat, bat-eared fox and yellow mongoose.
If you are very lucky you might glimpse a cheetah or a leopard which are known to sporadically move through the region. The Kahalari is also known for its bird life, particularly eagles and vultures, as well as it’s reptiles and scorpions.
The nomadic San Bushmen have inhabited the Kalahari for over 30,000 years, living in hunter-gatherer family groups. Today they’re keen to share their knowledge of the land to visitors and on a guided walk with the San Bushmen you’ll learn about their survival and hunting skills which have been passed down through generations.
During the summer months from November to April it can be extremely hot in the Kalahari - often reaching 45°C between December and February. Daytime temperatures in the winter months from May to October are typically between 20-25°C, although it can drop below freezing at night.
The Kalahari is referred to as a semi desert, as the annual precipitation received is between 100mm and 650mm, whilst real deserts such as the Namib Desert are defined by annual precipitation not more than 50mm. The rainy months are usually from December to February and at this time of year the southern Kalahari is covered in a carpet of beautiful yellow 'devils' thorn' flowers - this brings colour and life to this arid environment and it's a wonderful time for photographers to capture the stunning scenery here.
Namibia’s southern Kalahari is a fantastic area to discover on a self-drive holiday as you can enjoy the empty roads and take in the spectacular scenery at your own pace. We include the Kalahari on our 10-day 'Classic Namibia Holiday' - starting in Windhoek you’ll drive south towards Kalahari Red Dunes (driving time approximately two hours) and after exploring the Kalahari Desert you’ll drive west to the Namib Desert.
We recommend Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge which lies on the edge of the southern Kalahari. During a stay at this tranquil lodge you can enjoy activities such as early morning, late afternoon and night game drives. There is good variety of wildlife to be found here and if you are lucky you might glimpse a bat-eared fox as well as the wildebeest and eland which are quite comfortable around the lodge.