The Kalahari (or Kgalagadi in Setswana) is the largest single expanse of sand in the world and covers 70-80% of Botswana. It is impossible to avoid sand in Botswana. Yet compared with the dramatic sand dunes of the Namib or Sahara Deserts, we saw relatively few open expanses of sand. To be fair, we did visit the Central Kalahari only briefly and just after a particularly wet season.
The most we saw of rolling sand dunes was in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the great 38,000 square kilometre reserve which crosses the south-west Botswana border with South Africa, and may be extended into Namibia. In January 2006 we entered on the South African side of the park and enjoying the different experiences offered on each side. The South African side has fenced camping areas providing swimming pools, petrol stations and shops. By contrast, Botswana keeps its game reserves as natural as possible. The unprotected camping areas have no more than long-drop loos, a simple shower and basin and a small roofed area.
Between the relatively accessible South African side and the wild Botswana side is 200km of deep sand, crossing countless dunes in which the only animals able to survive are those which can live without water for long periods.
Various scenes as we crossed the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The large antelopes are gemsbok, the small one a steenbok. The birds congregating at a water hole on the South African side, are secretary birds, with one pictured. RIGHT is a martial eagle.
LEFT & BELOW: After a perfectly blue sky all day, the storm clouds blew over, the lightning struck all around us and patches of torrential rain circled us - but never actually passed over-head.