Kalahari: Colours

This is the first of a series of photographs from our 2008 and 2009 trips to the Kalahari.

My favourite place to go is the Kalahari – a semi-desert area in Southern Africa. It covers most of Botswana, and parts of Namibia and South Africa.  The specific area we have visited several times is known as the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which combines formerly separate conservation areas on either side of the border between South Africa and Botswana.

Although the KTP does have an abundance of wildlife and birds – surprising for a semi-desert – for me it’s all about the landscape and the feeling I have when I’m there. When we finally arrive there after the long journey from the Southern Cape through the Karoo (the very arid interior of South Africa), I can feel the tension just drain out of me.

There is something about being able to see to the horizon all around you, the quiet (except for the insects and geckos!) and the colours of the Kalahari which is truly spectacular.

Dunes in southern Kgalagadi (©2009 WMB)

It’s a very harsh environment. For a short period during the summer, the area gets some rain and turns green with areas of good grazing. For most of the year though, it’s hot and dry environment. The two rivers (the Auob and Nossob rivers) which “run” through the KTP are mostly dry.

We have only been there during the months of August through October, so have only experienced it when it is very dry. But at the same time, it’s when the daytime temperatures are still bearable, and the night-time temperatures are above zero degrees.  Summer (from what I have been told) is brutal.

It is the kind of place you either love or hate. I don’t think it’s possible to feel indifferent about it. The landscape changes from the dunes in the south to the savanna in the north. These photographs have been ordered more or less as one travels south to north.

Map of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Source: SANPARKS)

Giraffe in dry Auob River bed (©2009 WMB)

Rocky outcrop close-up (©2009 WMB)

Thorn tree with dead branches (©2009 WMB)

Water hole at Nossob (©2009 WMB)

Marie se Draai (©2009 WMB)

Water hole at Groot Kolk (©2009 WMB)

Savanna north of Nossob (©2009 WMB)

Savanna - and lions! - north of Nossob (©2009 WMB)

Gharagab camp (©2008 WMB)

This is the first of a series of photographs from our 2008 and 2009 trips to the Kalahari.


About lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at http://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and https://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)
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17 Responses to Kalahari: Colours

  1. M(i)zHitRun says:

    WOW! I can see why you enjoy going there. Can’t wait to see the other photos!

  2. davidpj says:

    I think this is a place I’d love to visit! I particularly like the shot of the savannah with lions – each of the three seems to be lined up with a tree in the background, it’s a cool effect.

  3. I looked at these a while back and had to revisit. I’m looking at at trip to Tanzania/Kenya next August, and then a study abroad program in South Africa next September. It’s images like this (and all of those big cats!) that draw me back to Africa.

  4. Jan says:

    Hi Lisa, thanks for the post! I’ve been there a few times, but that’s long ago……!

  5. A J says:

    I really enjoyed your blog. Keep it up!!
    Would like to visit this place someday.

  6. Stunning photos, Lisa! Really, really amazing! Can’t wait to hear about this year’s trip!

    (By the way, I thought about you when Emily and I got together and thought that somehow you should have been there–so you were with us, at least in my mind!)


    • Thanks Kathy! Yes, we’re really looking forward to the trip. It is so peaceful there – totally relaxing. Hope to take lots of good photos this year – been practicing with the camera and reading up about photographic technique.

  7. thirdeyemom says:

    Wow, Lisa! This place looks incredible! Are you going for vacation then? I can’t wait to read more and learn about this amazing place!

  8. jacquelincangro says:

    I’m so excited for you to make this trip in November and hear your report. I wonder how different it will be in November compared to when you’ve gone in August. I imagine arid places like this can change dramatically from season to season. Do you expect that the types of animals you’ll see will be different as well?

    • Sorry, the post dates are a little confusing. We are actually going in early August this year. The earliest we have ever been. I think the types of animals we’ll see are pretty much what we have seen before. It be interesting though to see what they get up to in what is our winter. It’s on or below freezing there at night right now, with mild daytime temperatures.

  9. bagnidilucca says:

    Apart from Zanzibar and Mombasa I have not been to Africa. I would love to go one day. Thanks for the great pictures. I would have to go in winter.

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