The desert is hot:

Obvious, absolutely, but many planning a trip here underestimate the heat and what it can do to you if you are not prepared. When travelling here, especially if you are one of the wild ones taking on a summer tour, having enough water and knowing when to stop in the shade and just relax is vital. The desert is going to teach you to slow down, as you just can’t be on the roads or out in the sun once it starts climbing.

Since there are no taps along the road to provide water, you need to pack enough to ensure your survival. Alternatively, you can sign up for a Kalahari safari and let your guides worry about the amount of sustenance you will be needing, but even in this case, it won’t hurt to bring along some extra.

The heat is not just dehydrating, it can also test you physically and mentally. It will drain your energy and leave you feeling very weak if you are really unfit, and if you should travel here when it is midsummer, the heat could leave you hallucinating, seeing mirages and other things that are just not there.

Stay hydrated always and try to keep cool as much as possible. Remember, this is a rugged camping destination so there is no air conditioning and there are no swimming pools.

More than one country:

The Kalahari, as already mentioned, spans out over Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. Depending on where you are planning your tour, or where your guided tour is taking you, you might need to bring along all of your identity documentation as there might be a border crossing on your journey.

You are also entering a place of camaraderie and teamwork. The few people that you are coming across during your travels should always be shown respect and given help if needed. Always keep a look out for your fellow traveller. It is so easy to run into trouble here, and if you see someone in danger or someone asks for help, do what you can to assist them.

Book a Namibia Tour:

Except for those few adventurers who are chasing that thrill, and who have the experience to make it out in the wild, travelling in the Kalahari and being completely self-reliant (and knowing what you need in order to be self-reliant) is not for everyone. But that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on seeing such a spectacular place!

There are many Kalahari tour providers who are more than ready to take guests into the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in vehicles kitted out just for such an adventure. The tours include the help of a guide who has the knowledge and experience to navigate the desert and to know what to pack in order to keep you going throughout the trip.

Booking a Kalahari tour is one of the best ways to see the desert. It will be the less stressful option and it will give you time to simply enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the desert.

Travelling on a tour is also ideal because the guides know the area and they know where to travel so that you don’t miss a thing. They will keep you safe on the road, and share insight into the land and the things you will see.

On a side note, tour companies can be a vital link in your travel plans when you are in a foreign country. They can help you with various arrangements and they can assist you in your planning so that you have everything covered. Think of them as a companion. Their planning staff might be virtual, but their presence can be both welcoming and comforting when you are in a strange new place.

Pack light for your Namibia Safari:

The Kalahari tour is a moving holiday, which means you don’t necessarily have a fixed base from which your tour will operate. Because of the vastness of the desert and the fact that there are no official camp sites deep in the desert, you won’t have a semi-permanent tent setup and will have to bring everything with you as you travel from one destination to the next.

With this in mind, pack light. You won’t need heavy winter clothes, although you should bring a jacket because the nights have a certain chill, and you’ll only need a comfortable pair of walking shoes and maybe a pair of sandals at most. If you can fit everything you need in a rug sack, it would be ideal as there is limited space in the 4×4 vehicle for all of your travel luggage. Naturally, you probably are bringing along quite a bit of luggage if you are an overseas traveller, so find out if your hotel will allow you to leave some of your stuff there or if the tour company can help you with arrangements.

Only footprints:

Few travel to the Kalahari, which means that those who do are the only ones who leave their mark in the desert sands. It is of utmost importance that the only thing you leave behind when visiting is your footprints in the sand. No litter, no mess, just a mark that will blow away in the wind. The Kalahari is a pristine and untouched land, and the only way that it can stay such is to be very conscious about your presence. If you have items with you that could cause litter, such as plastic bottles and wrappers, make sure that you have brought along a disposable bag and that you keep it in your vehicle until you find a dustbin, which will generally only be at the exits.

If you are travelling with a guide, they will ensure that you have a way to safely store any rubbish. Littering will not be tolerated by guides, or appreciated by the locals. Remember, you are a guest in this unspoiled, ancient land, and it is a true honour to journey here.

Consider a combination Namibia Tour:

There is so much to see and enjoy in the Kalahari that you are certainly not going to have a moment of boredom. But that should not stop you from considering joining your Kalahari tour to a tour of Namibia or Botswana. Africa is big and the destinations are remote. So you need to know that a combination tour will require some time, perhaps even an extra week.

That said, when will you next find yourself in Africa? While you are in such a gorgeous part of the world, you might as well see as much of it as you can. You won’t regret a moment of a combination tour and you are guaranteed to leave Africa with a new perspective and a new appreciation for life.

Combination tours are also likely to cost far less money, in light of how many destinations such a tour will take you to.

The Best Time of the Year to Visit the Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari is a hot and arid place. The water sources are hard to come by, the vegetation is scarce meaning there is very little shade, and although rainfall is not exactly unheard of, it is not a regular occurrence.

Planning your trip around the best time of the year to visit the Kalahari is of the utmost importance if you want to make the most of your stay is comfortable and truly memorable.

Most visitors will aim to tour the Kalahari in the winter months, to make the trip as comfortable as possible. The Kalahari, since it is in the Southern Hemisphere, has its winter months from about the end of May to the end of August. Although it is winter, the day time temperatures are quite warm, hot even, while the nights are freezing.

Keeping in mind that you are in the desert, the nights are generally cold anyway, regardless of the time of year you will be visiting.

Bring along winter clothing for the evenings but for the day, make sure that you have some lighter clothing. Travelling in a car all day could get overly warm and uncomfortable. Make sure that during the day you stay well hydrated and as cooled off as possible.

There are certain times of the year that are better than others for spotting wildlife and the best months to have a wildlife safari of sorts include June, July and August. These months are best for spotting some larger animals as they will travel to the riverbed in search of some of the last remaining water. These winter months are often without any rainfall.

If you are brave, and you want to have a one of a kind trip, you can adventure there in summer months. The heat is going to be quite overwhelming, and you can easily get tired when on the road, but the trip is well worth it if you want to see the desert completely transformed into an oasis. With the first of the season’s rains, comes the beautiful greenery, as the desert comes alive once more. Wild flowers pop up all over, and it truly becomes a sliver of paradise, and every photographer’s dream destination.

The Kalahari Desert Bucket List

Although it would seem that the Kalahari is itself an attraction without individual destinations that a place like Namibia and its desert have to offer, that is not the case. You can have a bucket list of attractions for when you travel to the Kalahari, and it should include these unforgettable places.

Makgadikgadi Salt Pans:

These exquisite Salt Pans are in the North-Eastern part of Botswana and they are the largest of this kind in the world. The Salt Pans cover an area of 16 000 square kilometres. Throughout the year, the look of the pans change according to the season. Travelling here in the winter, you will arrive at dry pans that look eerily abandoned to the sands and dust. The salt shimmers and glints, becoming a truly beautiful photographic opportunity.

The rains begin to fall in the summer months and dry soil turns into moist land, with the grasses springing back into life and animals arriving in their droves. Flamingos are a common sighting in the wet summer months.

Visit the San:

The San people are the original Bushmen, the true indigenous people of South Africa. Their knowledge of the Kalahari is truly exceptional and they are a fascinating people to visit. These people, as well as the ancestors who have come before them, have lived a life connected closely to nature. They know how to survive in the desert, with all of its dangers and limited water.

When visiting the Kalahari you can have the opportunity of meeting the San and walking in their world. If you do this, you can look forward to a really humbling experience, one that will teach you things that wouldn’t be taught in a book. The San people will share their survival skills and show you how they hunt, gather and make food.

Ancient San art can also be found all over the area, particularly on rock walls. If you are on a guided Kalahari tour, your guide will be able to take you to the places where this unique art can be found.

Go star gazing:

There is no better way to get a truly astonishing look at the heavens than by indulging in a little star gazing. Deep in the desert, the light pollution is minimal, since modern living in is an entire world away, which is to your advantage as you will never see the stars like you will when you are in the desert.

Falling asleep while taking in that gorgeous sight of the night sky is something that everyone visiting the Kalahari needs to do. When here, you will see the Milky Way, and spot all of the constellations. If you have a good quality camera, you will even be able to take a few photos that you will treasure for the rest of your life.