When viewing the Kalahari from the air, it is soon clear that in spite of its arid appearance, it does not only consist of desert terrain. Indeed, its extensive and dry savannah is home to a variety of vegetation zones and a surprisingly large number of plants and animals.
Covering an incredible 2.5 million square kilometres, the Kalahari extends across more than 9 African countries. In the north, it borders the Zaire Delta and in the south, it stretches between the Atlantic and West Zambia. The largest area of the Kalahari is situated in Botswana, one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. With less than 3 people per square kilometre, it is hardly surprising that it is such an isolated region.
Amid the African wilderness we arrive at a luxurious lodge that is surrounded by several beautiful old trees, Deception Valley Lodge.
A few years ago, the owners of the lodge came to an arrangement with the nearby members of the San tribe where some of them would act as guides for their guests. The Bushmen of the Kalahari have a long and proud history and it is believed that the first settlement of the ancestors of the San was established here around 100,000 years ago.
The bushmen accompany us on our trip into the desert which is also their home. Nobody knows the mysteries of the desert better than the San tribesmen. For thousands of years, their knowledge and experience has been handed down from one generation to the next. Without the knowledge gained from their ancestors, it would be impossible to meet the challenge of everyday life in the desert. A walk through the dry savannah provides outsiders with a hint of the tough way of life of the bushmen.
The Kalahari is most certainly not just another African desert, it is a very unique world of its own!