Kalahari: A Top Travel Destination in 2020

December 22, 2019

National Geographic has released its list of the best trips to take in 2020 and the expansive Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa has made the grade.

The appeal of the!Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park, according to National Geographic, is that you can “count the stars in one of the darkest spots on the planet” as it is one of few International Dark Sky Sanctuaries. There is almost no light, sound pollution and cloud cover over the park.

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Watch as the sunset transforms the sky into in a starlit night © Letaka Safaris

From a technical perspective, the Kalahari scores almost 21.9 on the sky quality meter of darkness. As the highest score – which means zero light – is 22, it is clear why it is considered one of the world’s best stargazing destinations. Stargazers can observe the Southern Cross and other nocturnal sights of the Southern Hemisphere.

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Sit around the campfire as night falls and the stars come out © Wilderness Safaris

Astronomy aside, the Kalahari is much more than just its dazzling night sky. If you are looking to visit a top travel destination in 2020 without the hubbub of thousands of other tourists, the Kalahari might just be the off the beaten track adventure to kick off a new decade.

Check out three of our top reasons we love taking guests on safari into the Kalahari Desert:

Surprisingly diverse landscapes

At 120,000 acres (360,000 square miles) and covering three Southern African countries – South Africa, Botswana and Namibia – the Kalahari comes in as the sixth largest desert on the planet. With this impressive geographical coverage comes a variety of ecosystems, landscapes and wildlife, even though a first impression of it might say otherwise.

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Aerial view of Kalahari Plains Camp © Wilderness Safaris

Its mix of salt pans, red dunes and dry valleys are in direct contrast to the watery playground of the Okavango Delta. Expectedly, the name Kalahari originates from the Tswana word Kgala, which means “the great thirst”. The Okavango River is the only source of water that the Kalahari sees, flowing in during the rainy season to transform the northern regions into marshes and pools rich in wildlife.

Fascinating wildlife

The Kalahari is a significant sanctuary for a wide range of species, which are conserved in three national parks and wildlife reserves. Plains game animals, such as oryx, springbok and blue wildebeest, can be expected in large herds, congregating around the pools of water that form during the rainy season.

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A cheetah walks away outnumbered by a herd of oryx © Letaka Safaris

This is a stronghold of the brown hyena along with its more common counterpart, the spotted hyena. Smaller predators include the comical bat-eared fox, yellow mongoose and ever-alert meerkats. Importantly, it provides refuge for key endangered species that require huge range not only to survive but to thrive, such as lion, African wild dog and cheetah.

Silent solitude

In the fast-paced world many of us live out in cities today, the idea of minimal noise, lights and rushing might feel like a fantasy. It is in the Kalahari where the magic of silence and solitude happen, effortlessly. This is a safari that is not only about adventurous game drives and incredible wildlife sightings but also about detoxing from the digital world and soothing the soul.

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Sleep out under the stars at Kalahari Plains Camp © Wilderness Safaris

Instead of spending hours on social media, time will be mirrored in the shifting light that changes the colours of the surrounding landscape and the habitual movements across the land by some wildlife species. The sounds of nature will also change throughout the day; the whistling of the wind through the scrub during the day and the noises of nocturnal animal species as they awaken with the darkness.

The Kalahari is great as both a single or multi-destination safari. Chat to us about your interests, budget, time-frame and budget so that we can tailor a safari that matches you.


Posted by tfhadmin


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