Of Dunes, Depressions and Dry Valleys: The Arid Landscapes of the Kalahari Desert

  • David J. NashEmail author
Part of the World Geomorphological Landscapes book series (WGLC)


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.


Kalahari Desert Dunes Ephemeral drainage Pan depressions Duricrusts 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BrightonBrightonUK
  2. 2.University of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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