The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid sandy savannah in Southern Africa extending 900,000 square kilometres, covering much of Botswana, parts of Namibia, and regions of South Africa. The desert gets its name from the Tswana word Kgala ("the great thirst"), or Kgalagadi, Khalagari, or Kalagare, meaning "a waterless place".
The Kalahari gets very hot; it can reach temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer. In winter the desert has a dry, cold climate where the temperature can reach 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). The Okavango River is the only permanent river that flows through the desert. During the rainy season (October through April) temporary rivers such as the Nata and several tributaries which flow into the Limpopo River are formed.
One of the most common Kalahari animals is the Gemsbok/Oryx (Oryx gazelle). This animal is well equipped for survival in the extremely rough conditions of the desert. Many of the world's most dangerous cats can be found in parts of the Kalahari. These include lions, leopards, cheetahs, and caracals.
Over four hundred species of plants have been identified in the Kalahari Desert. The Kalahari's sand is better than most deserts at retaining water, and therefore allows for more plant life than most deserts.
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