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The Kalahari

The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid sandy savannah in Southern Africa extending 900,000 square kilometres, covering much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa. A semi-desert, with huge tracts of excellent grazing after good rains, the Kalahari supports more animals and plants than a true desert, such as the Namib Desert to the west.

The Kalahari is home to many migratory birds and animals. Previously havens for wild animals from elephants to giraffes, and for predators such as lions and cheetahs, the riverbeds are now mostly grazing spots, though leopards and cheetahs can still be found.

Although there are few endemic species a wide variety of animals are found in the Kalahari including large predators such as the Kalahari lion, cheetah, leopard, spotted hyena, brown hyena, and wild dog. 

Birds of prey include the secretary bird, martial eagle and other eagles, the giant eagle owl and other owls, falcons, goshawks, kestrels, and kites. As well as wildebeest, springbok and other antelopes these predators will also hunt porcupines.

Some of the areas within the Kalahari are seasonal wetlands, such as the Makgadikgadi Pans of Botswana. This area, for example, supports numerous halophilic species, and in the rainy season, tens of thousands of flamingos visit these pans.

Indigenous people living in the Kalahari include The San Bushman and Tswana, also know as The Bechuana.

The San people have lived in the Kalahari for 20,000 years as hunter-gatherers. They hunt wild game with bows and poison arrows and gather edible plants, such as berries, melons and nuts, as well as insects. The San get most of their water requirements from plant roots and desert melons found on or under the desert floor and often store water in the blown-out shells of ostrich eggs. They live in huts built from local materials—the frame is made of branches, and the roof is thatched with long grass.

The Bantu-speaking Tswana, Kgalagadi, and Herero and a small number of European settlers also live in the Kalahari desert. The city Windhoek is situated in the Kalahari Basin.

 

For further information please visit:

 

link_icon     Kalahari Desert

 

 

 

Gliding in South Africa

The average cloud base is in the range 11,000 to 14,000ft AMSl, with the ground elevation being 4,500ft. The mean thermal strengths of 2.5 to 3m/sec. One third of the days are likely to be blue, particularly at the beginning of the season. On above average days, the cloud base may be as high as 18 or 19 thousand feet with rates of climb that exceed 5m/sec.

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The flying area is vast, and varied with few restricted areas. We have to fly west to clear the Bloemfontein TMA, there after we can fly south and south west into the dry areas of the northern Karoo or north west right up to South Africa's border with Botswana or we can fly east to the Maluti Mountains and the northern Drakensburg.

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Soaring Safaris is based at New Tempe airfield Bloemfontein for their summer camp from November to February. We have a shade net hangar to accommodate 9 gliders with a convenient water ballasting system, and a conventional hangar for 4 15m wing span gliders.

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Gliders are generally hired by the week Sunday to Saturday inclusive, but we can tailor packages to suit your travel arrangements dependant on other bookings. All Soaring Safaris gliders are equipped with parachute, basic instruments, electric vario, final glide computer, an IGC approved GPS Flight Recorder, Flarm, a map of the area and oxygen. Please note that because they are so fragile we do not provide PDA's.

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