Showing posts with label South Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Africa. Show all posts

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Kalahari Desert in Africa

Kalahari Desert Location
The Kalahari Desert stretching more than 360,000 square miles across South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. The annual rainfall is a bit high between 5 to 10 inches. The Kalahari Desert is part of Kalahari Basin, (930,000 square-kilometer), includes Okavango River Delta and other wetlands areas.

Kalahari Desert Facts

The Kalahari Desert is something very attractive name to inspire you most. Probably we don’t know why. The desert name instills a sense of dismay while at the same time. This emanates an uncanny attraction. You may have different thoughts in the strictest sense of the word. The Kalahari Desert gently undulating, sand-covered plain, and bedrock are exposed in the low kopjes (vertical-walled hills), that rarely but conspicuously rise above the general surface.

Apart from kopjes, three surfaces characterize virtually all the Kalahari: sand sheets, longitudinal dunes, and vleis. The major part of Kalahari Basin encompasses all of Botswana and more than half of Namibia. The sand dunes, stretching west to the Namib Desert, is the largest continuous expanse of sand on earth. The western side of Kalahari Desert is consisting of long chains of dunes, measure at least 1 mile in length, several hundred feet in width, and 20 to 200 feet in height. The Southern part of Kalahari Desert has water surface in small and widely scattered waterholes. Almost, entire rainwater falls disappear immediately into the deep sand.

The desert soils mainly based on reddish color sand, and are low in organic material. Soils in the Kalahari Desert are largely based on sand, are reddish in color, and are low in organic material. Chemically, they are comparatively alkaline, and dry soils tend to be highly calcareous or saline, and normally they are toxic to most vegetation. Around, 5,000 Kalahari people speak Taa Language with the most vowels and consonants. However, in Tswana language, The Kalahari means ‘large thirst’.  Ancient dry riverbeds which are called ‘omuramba’—traverse the central northern reaches of the Kalahari and offer standing pools of water during the rainy season.

The Kalahari Desert is 6th biggest desert by area in the world and second biggest in Africa after the Sahara Desert. Geologist says the Kalahari Desert was once thriving with full of life with numerous lakes exist here. But these days, large salt pans remain i.e., Makgadikgadi Pan, the remains of the once huge Lake Makgadikgadi. Another big pan is the Nxan pan. The most popular game, named “Mario Kart” features a track named Kalimari Desert.

This track was inspired by the Kalahari Desert. Because of its sparsely populated expanse, the Kalahari is served by infrequent roads and tracks. Furthermore, Kalahari Desert is home to one of the biggest diamond mines in the world. The diamonds were unearthed almost thirty years ago in the Gaghoo Mine first opened in 2014. Hence after three years of construction completed the project. This mine extracts diamond ore using a GO25 Kimberlite Pipe and has a production capacity of 720,000t a year.

People of Kalahari

The Kalahari Desert is inhabited mainly by Bantu speakers and Khoisan-speaking San, with a little number of Europeans, entered in the 19th century as travelers, missionaries, ivory hunters, and traders. It is believed that nomadic hunter (San People) lived at the Kalahari Desert for over 20,000 years. They are the oldest continuous residents of Southern Africa. 

Many San people were killed during various wars when European settlers arrived here. Their life was disturbed by large scale killing of wild animals which they earlier hunted and grazing of wild edible plants by cattle. Interestingly, more than a hundred thousand of San people still live along the fringes of the Kalahari.

Some precious diamonds, deposits of nickel, copper, and coal have been unearthed here. The major livestock grazing is thought to be the largest threat to the Kalahari ecosystem. The ongoing change to plant communities and increased erosion remains relatively limited.                                 

The weather of Kalahari Desert

The sand dunes mainly covered with an abundance of vegetation i.e. grass tussocks, shrubs, and deciduous trees infrequent precipitation and wild swings in temperature. In the summer season, it is scorching hot to touch 45 degrees Celsius, and in winter, temperature drop to -15 degrees Celsius. Also, in winters the climate is extremely dry: humidity is very low, and no rain falls for six to eight months.

Further, the moisture-bearing air is derived from the Indian Ocean, and precipitation is greatest in the northeast and declines toward the southwest. Rainfall, however, is extremely variable. Most of the rain comes as summer thunderstorms, with great variation from place to place and from year to year.

The wetter open woodlands made with acacia famous as camelthorn tree. These camelthorns are a crucial part of the desert ecosystem, manufacturing nutrients that boost other plants to grow around its base and providing shade for animals. The Kalahari Desert had an intricate climatic history more than millions of years ago, in line with major global changes. 

The last 250,000 years have been reconstructed from numerous data sources, and offer evidence of both former extensive lakes and periods drier than now. As time goes, Kalahari Desert has expanded to include parts of western Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Angola.

Flora and Fauna

Around 500 species of vegetation thrive during the rainy season. The water quality is better than a normal desert. The water helps in to flourish the plant life in many parts. The Hoodia cactus, and other edible plants - used by both humans and animals include creeping tsamma melons, gemsbok cucumbers, and wild cucumbers. 

Other trees that grow in the Kalahari Desert include shepherd's tree, blackthorn, and silver cluster-leaf. In the drier area, has vegetation and wildlife are much sparser, but Hoodia cactus - used for thousands of years by the San people to ease hunger and thirst during long hunting trips - still maintains a foothold there.

Kalahari Desert Wildlife

The animals which are adapted to difficult weather are meerkats, gemsbok, social weavers, Kalahari lion and different species of birds. The desert is home to many big cats including lions, cheetahs or leopards. The endemic wildlife species have great ability to adapt the severe conditions and to survive many days without water.

The Kalahari wildlife obtains water from plants. Several other reptiles also live here, including Cape cobras, puff adders, rock monitor, kudu in denser brush, steenbok, duiker, and gnu (wildebeest). Also, on the northern side of Kalahari provide considerable support to the population of giraffes, elephants, zebras, buffalo, roan, sable, tsessebe, impala, wild hunting dogs, and foxes.

Also, other large and medium-sized mammals, i.e., jackals, hyenas, warthogs, baboons, badgers, anteaters, ant bears, hare, and porcupines; and numerous small rodents, several types of snakes and lizards, and a wealth of birdlife. Moreover, several other birds and mammals use the desert, but most are migratory, venturing into the Kalahari only when sufficient water is available. 

 Source: 1, 2, 3, 4 

Monday, 16 March 2015

The Kirstenbosch Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway in South Africa

Kirstenbosch is a world popular botanical garden and a special jewel for Capetonians and nature lovers alike. The stunning views, of flora and fauna, the paths and facilities are all of great quality and enjoyment. However, this is possible now to walk above the trees? The Kirstenbosch Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway in Cape Town is a raised walkway that allows visitors to view the forest and the trees the way a bird or a monkey might.

The canopy elegantly snakes its way along the treetops in the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in South Africa. The striking walkway spreads a maximum height of 12 meters from the ground and only touches the ground twice. It has more than a few observation points from which visitors can relish the surrounding view, but it also descends among the tree canopy in a some places so that they can relish the foliage as well. Kirstenbosch is lovely and worth a visit. The "boomslang" is great, because it is unusual vantage point and the rather surreal feeling that comes with standing atop tree crowns that’s surely the raised boulevard’s greatest drawcard.

Well, you can look out for labels on the trees that document their family and common names as well as information boards along the path that provide details about the birds, animals and mountain peaks visible from the boardwalk. The good looking 427 feet walkway is open now and involves no extra charge, so if you’re ever in South Africa or plant to visit Cape town, then you should definitely consider paying the park a visit! Therefore the Botanical Society of SA has supported the project from the start. A number of similar projects were researched in other renowned botanical gardens such as Kew in London and Kings Park in Perth.

This project construction costs is almost R5 m are met entirely from bequests from many benefactors - in particular, R1m from the late Mary Mullins. The planning of the walkway started in 2012, and foundations were laid down in June 2013 and it was completed on 16 May and opened to the public on 17 May 2014.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Augrabies Falls South Africa

The Augrabies Waterfall is possibly the most impressive thing you’ll see anywhere out there. The Augrabies Falls is an eye-catching waterfall on the Orange River, South Africa, within the Augrabies Falls National Park. The waterfalls are about 60m in height. Augrabies Falls is definitely among the major large-river waterfalls in the world. Among the Waterfalls of the World this is such a great waterfall, because the volume of the Orange River varies so greatly between the wet season and the rest of the year, and ultimately because it is so hard to appreciate the falls from the ground, Augrabies Falls can't be considered more than a second-tier world class waterfall. 

The locals Khoikhoi residents named the waterfall "Ankoerebis" which translate into means is "place of big noises" from which the Trek Boers, who settled here later on, derived the name, "Augrabies". The waterfalls have recorded 7,800 cubic metres of water every second in floods in 1988 and 6,800 cubic metres in the floods of 2006. This is more than three times the average high season flow rate of Niagara Falls of 2,400 cubic metres per second, over four times Niagara's annual average, and greater than Niagara's all-time record of 6,800 cubic metres per second. The gorge at the Augrabies Falls is 240 m deep and 18 km long, and is an impressive example of granite erosion. Well if you’re planning to visit South African then the nest time to visit begin from February to September. The waterfall is at its fullest in April. However from December to March is extremely hot, but the falls are lit up from 8 pm – 10 pm at night so you can visit after dark when it’s cooler. Source: CP

Sunday, 19 October 2014

True Natural Water Wonders of Bourke's Luck Potholes

The gorgeous Bourke's Luck Potholes are a true natural water feature located within the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, approximately 35 kilometers north of Graskop on the R532 road. It is found at the beginning of the Blyde River Canyon, these cylindrical potholes on the bedrock have been carved more than thousands of years ago with sand and pebbles swirling around in whirlpools at what time the Treur River plunges into the Blyde River. Originally, water borne pebbles carved out minor depressions, which soon trapped river debris additional accelerating erosion. Therefore hollows grew with the passage of time and got deepened to cylindrical potholes up to quite a lot of meters deep.

The potholes were titled after an ineffective gold prospector called Tom Bourke who revealed signs of alluvial gold in the canyon in the late 1880s. He swiftly staked a claim and originated to pan for gold. Unluckily for him, Bourke never stuck gold, though hundreds of others found riches just south of where he projected the presence of the precious metal. Bourke’s gold mine proved to be totally unproductive but his splendid legacy lives on at Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Unluckily, certain tourists treat Bourke's Luck Potholes as a “wishing well” and several have dropped coins into the potholes. A small visitor’s center is found close that offers information about the canyon’s origins and the flora and fauna found in the area. From there, the viewing point for these potholes is 700 meters away.