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What are some facts about the Kalahari Desert?

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Quick Answer

The Kalahari Desert is an expanse of arid land that covers nearly 360,000 square miles of territory across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. It is home to a variety of plant and animal species.

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Full Answer

Sand dunes, which are the prominent geological feature of the Kalahari Desert, have held their dominant place in Southern Africa for more than 11,000 years. Where the dunes subside, the dry land opens into vast, flat valleys called pans, which are evaporated lake beds where minerals such as salt and calcium are often left exposed.

Although the Kalahari Desert is largely inhospitable, flora and fauna do survive. Perennials largely dominate the plant life, because the deep sand and lack of rain make it difficult for annual vegetation to successfully seed and germinate. Different regions of the Kalahari Desert are home to different animals. Larger herbivores and carnivores such as giraffes, elephants, buffalo, cheetahs and wild dogs are found in the northern Kalahari, while smaller ungulates such as wildebeest and oryx survive in the more arid south.

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