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The kalahari desert is an arid region of sand and dry lakebeds in southern Africa extending into parts of Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia. The region is an interior plateau covering an area of approximately 100,000 square miles and lies between the Orange and Zambezi Rivers. The name Kalahari derives from the Tswana word keir, which means “the great thirst.” Rainfall in the region averages eight inches annually, identifying it as a true desert. However, annual rainfall is extremely variable and ranges from a high of 15 inches to a low of three inches.

The Boteti River flows northward into a marshland at the northern edge of the desert, and carries excess water in years of high precipitation into Lake Xau. During the late 20th century ...

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