Okavango Tours

Central Kalahari

San Bushmen


The Kalahari is a desert only in the sense that it has no surface water. Far from being  lifeless, it is a treasure-trove of plant-, animal- and bird-life, and final home to a dying race, that of the San or ‘Bushmen’. Rolling grasslands with islands of trees, occasional forests and hardy shrub cover most of the Kalahari, sustained by relatively shallow ground-water. In the complete absence of light or pollution, the night skies are breathtaking, and the uninterrupted sweep of the landscape is quite awe-inspiring. During the summers great storms march across the desert, and the change wrought on this thirstland by torrential rains is startling.

kalahari lions


The Kalahari is host to many species that have adapted their habits and lifestyles to  accommodate their harsh environment – the lion, leopard and cheetah of the Kalahari are substantially larger than their wetland cousins. In addition to the desert antelope – zebra, wildebeest, oryx, eland, springbok, hartebeest - many smaller animals may be seen, such as porcupine, honey-badgers, caracals, a variety of small cats, mongooses and suricates.

nxai pans
It is also possible to take a walk with members of the San, who reveal a world rich in resources which to the untrained eye appears barren. Every grass, every shrub and tree, every insect and bird and animal has its place in their lives, whether in mythology, in medicine, in food and sustenance, as a depository of moisture or as a barometer of other species’ presence or behaviour.




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