Question

Describe the major biomes of Southern Africa.

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The north and the east are covered with savanna—vast grasslands dotted with small stands of trees. Many of the most recognized African mammals, such as giraffes, zebra, and jackals, live on the savanna. This biome is also home to animals known as the Big Five: lions, leopards, elephants, Cape buffalo, and rhinoceroses. The south and the west of the inland area are mostly desert biome. The Kalahari Desert occupies much of the Botswana basin. It stretches southwest to where Botswana meets Namibia and South Africa. Here, it blends into the Namib Desert. The Namib continues down to the coast, then runs north between the ocean and the Great Escarpment through all of Namibia and into southern Angola. Inland, bushes and tall grasses have adapted to grow in the sand dunes. Antelope and ostriches live here as well. Farther north in the interior desert, rivers can be found, and with them elephants, rhinoceroses, hyenas, and more. The arm of the Namib Desert that runs along the coast is quite different. It is almost completely arid, with little or no plant life. Some reptiles and insects have adapted to this biome, but no larger animals live here. Succulents grow here, and it is home to various marine birds, such as pelicans, flamingos, and even penguins. The northern Kalahari is hardly desertlike at all because of the rivers that flow through it. Many smaller animals, such as wild dogs, foxes, anteaters, and porcupines, live here. Plants such as pond lilies and reeds thrive here as well. The central part of the Kalahari gets some rain, and shrubs can grow there. Acacia trees provide homes for birds, rodents, and insects. The southern part of the Kalahari, rain is scarce.

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