Lake Ngami is an endorheic lake in Botswana north of the Kalahari Desert. It is seasonally filled by the Taughe River, an effluent of the Okavango River system flowing out of the western side of the Okavango Delta. It is one of the fragmented remnants of the ancient Lake Makgadikgadi. Although the lake has shrunk dramatically beginning from 1890, it remains an important habitat for birds and wildlife, especially in flood years.
Lake Ngami had many famous visitors during the 19th (and into the 20th) century. In 1849 David Livingstone described it as a “shimmering lake, some 80 miles [130 km] long and 20 [30 km] wide”. Livingstone also made a few cultural notes about the people living in this area; he noticed they had a story similar to that of the Tower of Babel, except that the builders’ heads were “cracked by the fall of the scaffolding” (Missionary Travels, chap. 26). Charles John Andersson (who published Lake Ngami; or, Explorations and Discoveries during Four Years’ Wanderings in the Wilds of Southwestern Africa in 1856) and Frederick Thomas Green also visited the area in the early 1850s. Frederick Lugard led a British expedition to the lake in 1896. Arnold Weinholt Hodson passed through the area on his journey from Serowe to Victoria Falls in 1906.
Ngami Lacuna, a methane lake on Saturn’s moon Titan is named after this lake.
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