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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Africa's desert ecosystem

Africa's desert ecosystem

Africa's desert ecosystem


Africa is one of the oldest and largest landmasses in the world has the largest hottest driest deserts with a unique ecosystem. Numerous stories, poems, and paintings have been dedicated to Africa's desert ecosystem Namaqualand's springtime butterflies, birds, and flowers.


Africa's desert ecosystem


Namaqualand Desert Butterflies Birds and Flowers




Every year around springtime the desert South African Namaqualand region comes alive with a sea of colorful indigenous wild flowers. 

South Africa’s Namaqualand or Namakwaland in the Afrikaans language lies about 5 hours north of Cape Town South Africa. The region is primarily desert, with annual precipitation averaging between 2 and 8 inches.

Namaqualand falls within the Succulent Karoo biome, an arid region with the highest succulent plant diversity in the world. Forty percent of the plant species occur nowhere else on earth and 17% are endangered. The 116,000 square km or 44,787 square mile Succulent Karoo biome extends from the southwest through the northwestern areas of South Africa and into southern Namibia. 

With the help of Mother Nature Namaqualand showcases around 1,000 - 4,000 different species of plants and flowers each season. The amount of plants and flowers each season depends on the rain received, every year brings a different spectacle lasting only for a few weeks. 

During the dry hot summer months of South Africa it is hard to imagine the spectacle of the yearly Namaqualand flower show each season. After the winter rainfall, Namaqualand dons her coat of many colors and for a brief moment, the wildflowers invade the countryside. Numerous stories, poems, and paintings have been dedicated to Namaqualand’s spring annual cascade of color.


Succulent Karoo biome
Desert Succulent Karoo biome


There are three deserts on the African continent, the Sahara, Namib and Kalahari. 


Africa contains the world’s largest desert, the Sahara, which makes up an area greater in size than the entire continental U.S. The Sahara Desert in North Africa encompasses a vast area of 3,500,000 square miles. The Sahara desert is predominantly dry and barren, with the exception of the fertile Nile Valley and scattered oases.

The Namib Desert in Namibia and parts of Angola and South Africa is over 80 million years old and is often referred to as the world's oldest desert. Namibia is home to a unique population of wild horses. Origins of the wild horses of the Namib Desert remains a mystery fueled by theories and urban legends because originally there were no horses in southern Africa.

Africa's Kalahari Desert is enormous; it stretches across seven African countries of Angola, Botswana a Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia.



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