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Here Are the Animals You’ll See in the Kalahari Desert

HOME > JOURNAL > AFRICA > Here Are the Animals You’ll See in the Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert is a huge swathe of semi-arid land that covers an area of over 350,000 square miles and stretches over vast tracts of three separate African countries – NamibiaBotswana and South Africa. It’s a harsh, waterless land, but a land where some of the most uniquely adapted animals have come to not only survive but to flourish. Here are some of the incredible animals you can see in the Kalahari Desert.

About the Author

About the Author

"Having grown up in South Africa, visiting the region’s wild places was a staple of my upbringing. This left a lasting passion for Africa’s wildlife and natural beauty that translated itself into a fulfilling career in travel, arranging safari trips to Africa’s remote and exotic places."



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Although the mighty lion isn’t unique to the Kalahari, those that live in this dry wilderness have become expertly adapted to the trying environment. The lions of the Kalahari live in small but efficient prides that cover large areas of land to hunt, and individuals can go for days, even weeks without water as long as they can get their prey.


The endangered cheetah is one of the fastest hunters in the Kalahari. These spotted big cats live in small groups and can sprint at astonishing speed across the sand and scrub to tackle large prey such as oryx or even wildebeest. A cheetah in full flight is an incredible sight to see on safari.


The meerkat is the symbol of the African desert. These distinct creatures live in clans, building elaborate burrows in the sands of the Kalahari for shelter and protection from the fierce heat and predators. They’re perfectly suited to the harsh climate.


The giraffe is a much loved and unusual African animal, and this beautiful, long-necked creature can be found across much of the Kalahari. The giraffe is suited to the dry climate, as they are able to survive for weeks at a time on minimal moisture, while their long necks allow them to reach even the most distant vegetation.


The brown hyena is distinct to the semi-arid deserts of the Kalahari. This small, fur-coated hyena species looks out of place with its long coat in the red sands and under the relentless sun, but somehow they flourish in the climate, using their speed and stealth to scavenge kills from predators in the wilds.


The springbok is a small species of antelope with the ability to spring and leap high up into the air, a feature that gave the animal its name when the first Europeans saw it in action. Springbok live in large herds and rely on small quantities of vegetation for all their dietary needs in the Kalahari, and can survive entire seasons without any water.


The gemsbok, a type of antelope or oryx, is found in huge numbers across the Kalahari Desert. The elegant, long-horned gemsbok has a peculiar, white-and-black striped face. The species can be found grazing even in the dry and seemingly featureless landscapes of southern Africa.


The common warthog is a species of pig that’s often found digging deep into the dry earth with its powerful front tusks to find even the most buried roots and nourishment. When it’s not digging for food, this wild pig will most likely be seen using its impressive tusks to tussle with other warthogs.

Get in touch with us today to plan your safari, and see all these beautiful animals in their spectacular, wild habitats.

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