Of dunes, depressions and dry valleys: The arid landscapes of the Kalahari Desert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


The combination of vegetated orange–red dunes , seasonal pans and dry valleys in the Kalahari creates a landscape with outstanding scientific and aesthetic value. This chapter describes the geomorphological features of the Kalahari Desert within South Africa and adjacent areas of Botswana and Namibia, with a special emphasis on aspects that make the landscape unique. The Kalahari is an arid to semi-arid region underlain by Cretaceous to recent Kalahari Group sediments , including a surface blanket of unconsolidated Kalahari sands . The landscape is dominated by three sets of landforms: (a) dry valley systems, including the Auob , Nossob , Kuruman and Molopo river s; (b) partially vegetated linear dunes , which stretch in a broad zone from Upington on the Orange River into Botswana and Namibia; and (c) seasonally flooded pan s. The importance of the long-term geological history of the Kalahari for understanding the present landscape is also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLandscapes and Landforms of South Africa
EditorsS. Grab, J. Knight
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer International
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9783319035604
ISBN (Print)9783319035598
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2015

Publication series

NameWorld Geomorphological Landscapes


  • Kalahari Desert
  • dunes
  • ephemeral drainage
  • pan depressions
  • duricrusts


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