Namibia’s slice of the northern Kalahari is very different to the southern Kalahari east of Mariental and Keetmanshoop: there, a series of linear red dunes ripples towards the border, receiving an average annual rainfall of less than 250mm, which results in shorter, scrubbier and sparser vegetation, typically grey camelthorn and shepherd’s tree. In contrast, as you move up into central and northern areas of the semi-desert, the duneveld gives way to flatter, paler sandveld, with more savannah grassland and a greater coverage of acacia trees and shrubs. Even further northwards and eastwards, the increase in rainfall – albeit erratic and localized – is aided by a network of omiramba (water courses) and a smattering of pans to create a landscape of taller trees and a denser canopy. There are also more broad-leaved species, such as purplepod terminalia, wild teak, wild syringa, mopane or marula. While some visitors are here to tackle this inhospitable environment – usually in convoys of 4WD vehicles armed with GPS, satellite phones and all manner of equipment to get you out of a scrape – most come to interact with the semi-desert’s most resilient inhabitants, the Ju|’hoansi San.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Namibia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Namibia from above: the world's most extreme landscape

Namibia from above: the world's most extreme landscape

The Namib desert is one of the world’s most extreme environments. Covering 81,000 square kilometres, its vastness can only truly be appreciated from above. He…

17 Jul 2017 • Lottie Gross local_activity Special feature
In pictures: the otherworldly landscapes of Namibia

In pictures: the otherworldly landscapes of Namibia

From the spectacular dunes of the Namib Desert to the serpentine chasm of the Fish River Canyon, the rugged mountains of the Great Escarpment to the acacia-stud…

05 Jul 2017 • Sara Humphreys camera_alt Gallery
27 awe-inspiring pictures of Namibia

27 awe-inspiring pictures of Namibia

Namibia has some of the world's most astonishing landscapes. It's home to the world's oldest desert, a long and undeveloped coastline and national parks that te…

31 May 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month