26 February 2009

Really Stupid Stuff, part 687

The Kalahari Desert is 225k square miles covering parts of eastern Namibia, a bit of north nentral South Africa and much of Botswana. (The maroon portion of the small map above represents the desert itself; the orange portion is the larger Kalahari Basin.)

Wikipedia reports that the name is derived from either an African word meaning "the great thirst", or one which means "a waterless place". The Kalahari has vast areas covered by red sand without any permanent surface water, dry valleys, seasonally inundated pans, and the large salt pans. "However, the Kalahari is not a true desert. Parts of the Kalahari receive over 250 mm of erratic rainfall annually and are quite well vegetated; it is only truly arid in the southwest (under 175 mm of rain annually)."

I don't usually do metric, but that means that most of the desert only gets about as much rainfall as the diameter of the larger artillery shell, which ain't much.

I also learned in researching this post, that
in historical times elephants did occur in the Olifantshoek area of the Kalahari desert... or it would not have been called "Elephants corner". I am sad to say that today, the fibre-glass caricature nick named "Ollie", is the only elephant left within a hundred miles of "Olifantshoek".
So the really stupid part, to me, anyway, is that there is this place I drive past in Wisconsin Dells when I go to visit my dad in the Chicago area, and I just want to know, why would anyone name a water park after a desert?

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