The Kalahari, derived from the Tswana Kgala, which means ‘great thirst’ is a vast area of red sand dunes, the southern part of which dominates the Northern Cape

Northern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Kalahari

The portion of the great Kalahari desert that lies in the Northern Cape Province is but part of a large arid to semi-arid sandy area known as the Kalahari Basin, covering 2.5 million square kilometres that stretch from the Orange River to cover most of Botswana and parts of Namibia.

Where? Kalahari, Northern Cape, South Africa

Overnight? See Kalahari accommodation, in Northern Cape

The Kalahari evokes a picture of never ending red sand dunes, big, blue skies and a scorching sun that shimmers unrelentingly on ancient dry riverbeds, known as omuramba.

The Kalahari, derived from the Tswana Kgala, which means ‘great thirst’ or ‘waterless place’ is a vast area of red sand dunes, the southern part of which dominates the Northern Cape. Yet set along the border with the North West province are the mostly unfamiliar mining towns and villages of Black Rock, Dibeng, Kathu, Van Zylsrus, Hotazel, Dingleton, Olifantshoek and Kuruman.

The Kalahari is both deceptive and alluring. Deceptive because beneath the surface of apparent desert lies an incredible wealth of iron, manganese and other precious ores, which explains the mining towns, and alluring for visitors because of the many game farms and nature reserves to which the Kalahari is home.

Despite the wilderness, the Kalahari is not true desert in the sense of being unable to support life. Parts of the Kalahari receive as much as 250 millimetres of rainfall, albeit erratically, throughout the year, and grasses and acacias easily support large species of antelope, hyenas, lions, meerkats, giraffe, warthogs and jackals.

Nature Reserves like the beautiful Witsand Nature Reserve, with its famous ‘roaring sands’ of the Kalahari - dunes that emit a rather uncanny rumble when disturbed – and Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, surrounded by the beautiful Koranneberg Mountains on the edge of the Kalahari, one of the largest private game reserves in the country, are part of the allure of the Kalahari.

Popular Towns in the Kalahari Region


Overnight? Accommodation in Hotazel
The temptation to wordplay with the self-evident 'hot as hell' angle of this town's name is great. Restrain ourselves we would if it were not for the fact that Hotazel really did acquire its name from its association with heat...

More information and photographs: Hotazel Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Kgalagadi
The combined land area of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is +/-38,000 km² of which 28,400 km² lies in Botswana and 9,600 km² lies in South Africa. Transfrontier parks, border parks or transboundary conservation areas are protected areas...

More information and photographs: Kgalagadi Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Kathu
Kathu lies in the middle of the Kalahari desert. It's a mining town that lies strategically alongside the N14 between Kuruman and Upington, and three hours' away from Kimberley, to which it is connected by road, rail and air. The town...

More information and photographs: Kathu Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Kuruman
Lying in the heart of the Kalahari it might be, but Kuruman is one of those special places endowed with incredible picturesque scenery and a unique beauty. All of this is attributable to a natural fountain in the centre of Kuruman, known...

More information and photographs: Kuruman Information

McCarthys Rest

Overnight? Accommodation McCarthys Rest
McCarthy’s Rest lies snug up against the border with Botswana, just outside the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park - its name something of a misnomer, for, whilst it is a border post, there is no town here called McCarthy’s Rest. Instead...

More information and photographs: McCarthys Rest Information

Did you know?

The highlight of Witsand Nature Reserve of the Kalahari are the meerkats that live in the 100 metre high, 10 km long sand dunes that also emit strange roaring noises when disturbed by either wind or man. The white sand (witsand) of the region is unusual, surrounded as it is by regular red Kalahari sand.

©Unauthorised use of the
photos is strictly prohibited.

SA-Venues.com has been assisting travellers with their South African holiday plans since 1999, and is the largest online travel guide for South Africa available in both English and German.

SA-Venues.com © All Rights Reserved. Find and book hotels and accommodation in South Africa. Sitemap