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The name Kalahari is derived from the Tswana work “Kgala”, meaning the great thirst, or “Kgalagadi”, meaning the waterless place. It has been inhabited by the Bushman for 20 000 years as hunter-gatherers, who lived in a harmonious relationship with the environment until the influx of African and European man. However, due to its harsh environment, modern day man found its unfavourable conditions unsuitable to develop. Even with the introduction of borehole water, farming of livestock was a difficult pursuit. It is for this reason that man has had almost no impact on the land, and the Kalahari has remained a true wilderness area.
The southern Kalahari, due to its location and local climatic conditions, receives somewhat more rain than the central Kalahari, allowing it to support a large diversity of life. It is for this reason that the southern Kalahari is frequently referred to as the “Green Kalahari” – this is the home of Tswalu Kalahari Reserve.