Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 2 of 3
 [ 44 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:06 pm 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
@Suej,

We in the park are indeed lucky to spend Christmas here for quite a few reasons.
We are planning a Christmas drive (late night on the 24th), We are also looking at having Carols by Candle light at the day visitors area.

Then what I am looking forward to is the local staff usually starts at one end of the staff village and they walk from door to door and they sing Christmas Carrols (about two songs) at each house, if there is anybody that can sing it is the locals here it ALWAYS brings a tear to the eye, so for that I can’t wait. Otherwise we all are busy with our daily duties but just in a much more relaxed environment.
Temperature wise.......well if it is like today it is going to be HOT it is about 42 degrees here today.

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:02 pm 
Offline
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:21 am
Posts: 745
Location: Back in the Frozen but Sunny Prairies of Canada
Thanks so much KG...appreciate the history. You are a very good ambassador for Kgalagadi NP...but can you tone it down a little...this is going to give away the secret and then too many people will be there!! ha.
Missed the cheetah this trip...so sad, but now have booked back in in March to try again.
However we did have a rather special last morning sighting at a hyena kill...very unique. TR is just starting...adding on to my rather lengthy beginning..
thanks for all you are doing...hopefully we will meet you in March (you were in Bitterpan when we arrived)

_________________
Back at home- frozen and snowy again.
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11

Please vote for the 2011 Forum awards


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:18 am 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
@KTF hooked,

That is my problem if im passionate about something I have no idea how to 'tone it down'. I do hope that we will have a braai in March when you return. So tell us more about the special sighting with the Hayenas and the kill.

@Suej

You will be here in spirit with us, snow...............maybe some more rain will do, it would actually be interesting to see what would happen and how the local people would react if we do get some snow :hmz: Enjoy your Christmas party and I hope you also have a stunning Festive season

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:56 pm 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
The beginnings of the Park, History and Culture

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a result of the historic 1999 unification of South Africa’s Kalahari Gemsbok National Park.

Primitive man lived in the Kalahari in Stone Age times, when it was far more fertile and crossed by perennial rivers. Implements and fossils have been found where these rivers ran, especially along the banks of the Nossob. Early Europeans visited the area in 1820, 1851, 1853, 1861, 1873, 1877 and 1885, probable also early hunters and traders.

Anderson, Galton, Baines, Chapman, Anderson and Farini (Europeans) have all written works that have become classic of Africana. It is interesting to note from their writings that elephant, giraffe, buffalo and impala roamed this area a century (at present times two centuries) ago. Rhino, zebra, baboon and possibly the extinct quagga could be added to the list.

Between 1879 and 1920, the Nossob area, from Twee Rivieren in the south – at the confluence of the Auob and Nossob rivers-to Unions End in the north was divided up into large farms, originally intended for European settlement. As the Europeans showed little interest in the land it was later set-aside foe Coloured settlement but the lack of water and the isolation of the area provided many difficulties.
The proclamation of the National Park in 1931 sealed the fate of the area.
Many of the old farms’ names are retained in the names of the waterholes along the Nossob including Ky Ky, Kameelsleep (where the giraffe in the area was shot and dragged away from this spot), Kasper’s Draai, Rooikop, Kwang and Grootbrak.
Ky Ky later became a Baster (Coloured) settlement. This meat hungry community was moved out of the game reserve to a new area along the Molopo in 1938.

Since 1931 And the proclamation of the National Park the Nossob area has developed into the fine game reserve it is today. For this much credit is due to Mr. Joseph (Joep) le Riche-a man far ahead of his time, in days when most people considered game as “biltong on legs”.

Le Riche became chief warden of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park 1934. His task was enormous. Together with his Baster constable Gert Mouton, Le Riche patrolled the vast area on camels. Poaching was the major problem, conservation was unheard of and any game that wandered outside the environs of the park was lost forever.

To keep game inside the park, they provided waterholes along the riverbeds, this attracted game to the waterholes where, in later years, and the public were able to see them.
The Gemsbok National Park was proclaimed on the Bechuanaland (as Botswana was known then) side of the Nossob with the National Parks Board having patrol rights in both parks.
This side of Nossob has been an area of refuge, as well as a hunting area, for the poachers. The two parks now combined to form a viable ecological unit.
Le Riche saw the park develop into what it is today. When he retired, his two sons took over.

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:21 am 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
Early inhabitants: Bushmen

The Kalahari is the last refuge of the Bushmen and, unfortunately, they are disappearing for here too, especially as pure race. To the Bushmen, the Kalahari must mean a lot more than simply a “last refuge”. If any race needs some peace, it must surely be this one, yet there seems to be no place for them in the 20th century.
Van der Post calls the Bushmen “The vanished people”, and with good reason as his book (The Lost World of the Kalahari) shows. Too many of the history books of South Africa have glossed over this shameful chapter. The presence of the Bushmen, in the form of his highly developed art of rock painting, abounds throughout Southern Africa-but where is the painter?

Before the Europeans settled at the Cape in 1652, Bushmen were wildly spread in Southern Africa, peacefully living off the land. Built that all changed very quickly. The settlers fanned out, took over the Bushmen’s land, and killed their game. Almost immediately, there were clashes. The Bushmen did not wish to compromise and the Europeans considered them the equal to the wild animals of the veld.

As things grow worse for the bushmen they became more aggressive and the settlers organised raids to exterminate them in the remaining strongholds. For 200 years or more, they were shot on sight. Almost nobody defended their rights, or tried to understand them, not even the missionaries. The children were taken as slaves for frontier farms. Many tried to escape and died before finding parties of their own race. Others were caught and flogged for their effort.
To make matters worse, hoards of Bantu we removing south from the northern part of Africa and inland from the coast. What these Bantu lacked in the form of guns was made-up by sheer numbers. The bushmen that were not exterminated were pushed into the Kalahari, the land which nobody else wanted, to join others already living there. In this way, they disappeared from the Cape, the Drakensberg and from South West Africa.

In resent times it has been observed that a bushman in prison just pine away. There are probably two main reasons for this: Firstly, in his own eyes, his crime may not be a crime at all and secondly, he misses his family and normal routine extremely much.

To survive man needs food and water.

There are no permanent rivers in the Kalahari and the short rainy season frequently misses a year or two. Most of the food present is difficult to obtain, assuming, of course. That it has been found.

How is it that the bushman was saved from extinction and has survived, in small numbers in an area so harsh that it has excluded all others from living there?
After the rainy season, there is no water problem, but the heat and the porous sand soon make the water dry out. Even then, the bushman can “Sip” water from the damp sand.

Water is usually stored in ostrich- eggshells, but the stomachs of animals are also used. There are two other notable sources of water. One of these is the water contained in some desert plants. The most important is the tsamma melon, which is a source of both food and water for man and beast. Water is also obtained by wringing out the half-digested grasses found in the stomach of an antelope. This typical of the bushman, he wastes nothing that nature gives him.

The bushman, because of his tracing capabilities and stamina, is a hunter without equal. The game is shot with a bow and arrow. The arrow has a poisoned head, the poison being made of a compound of a certain insect and powered cobra poison. Once the animal, usually an antelope, has been shot will not die instantly and must be tracked and dispatched with a spear.

While the men are hunting, the woman and children go out in the morning and evening to collect water hence the name “Hunters and gatherers”. In addition to the water carrying plant already mentioned they collect roots, tubers, groundnuts, berries, caterpillars and insects. It is true that the busman can eat enormous amount after a kill. He may be very hungry and it could be some time before he eats again, but the common belief that he never keeps anything for the future is not true. Venison is cut into strips and hung under the shade of a tree to make dried meat or biltong.

Because the Kalahari bushman is essential nomadic, following the game and the seasonal cycles of plant food, he has few possessions. However, the woman values her stamping block greatly. Not only can she grind tsamma seeds and nut worth this but she can also grind the biltong to make food for her infant and the old. Incidentally, the bushman woman with an infant will not have another until the first can fend for itself. Not will she have one in times of bad drought.

Bushman wears few clothes-seldom more than a loincloth made from skin tanned them. Their tanning is a fine art and they use chemicals from plants to assist them. The woman decorates themselves with beads made from ostrich-eggshells or wood. Nowadays they also use ordinary beads.

The small bushman communities that roam the Kalahari have their own customs and folklore. They are all fond of games and music is a vital part of their lives. They also make their own musical instruments and enjoy dancing. Their traditional greeting is “Good day, I saw you from afar and I’m dying of hunger”, the answer “Good day, I have been dead but now that you have come I live again” (Steel 1976).

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:03 am 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
The Neighbouring communities.

Khomani San

Man has been part of the Kalahari for a long time. Artefacts belonging to early, middle and late Stone Age, some dating back some 200 000 years, have been uncovered.
Over the last 3 000 years humankind’s presence has been on the increase with the becoming of black tribes and white traders and hunters. Before the coming of the peoples, the Kalahari was the domain of the San (The term San was created in the 1930’s by European researchers who felt the word Bushman was derogatory). The San descended from the original southern Africa for some 150 000 years.

About 20 000 years ago a distinctive culture, that archaeologists recognise as being similar to the San culture of more recent times, emerged. The visible history which includes stone blades, bows and arrows, some pottery and 20 000 years of rock painting and engraving, provides insight into the way of life and spiritual beliefs of the different San groups.

During the last centuries, European settlers and other Africans absorbed or dispersed the San peoples and took much of their territory for farming and herding. Many San people perished form diseases and colonial violence. Other San married neighbouring peoples and assimilated into Botswana, Griqua, Coloured and amaXhosa identities.

The San are not one society but a collective of different peoples with different languages and cultural practices. They are united by their experience of being hunters and gatherers in southern Africa, particularly in the Kalahari.
Today there are about 100 000 San in southern Africa. They live in small, scattered groups in the urban and rural areas of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In March 1999, the San had a portion of their territory restored by the government of South Africa. This land included 27 769ha in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park forming the Ae!Hai Kalahari Heritage Park.

Botswana

The San people are believed to have inhabited Botswana for at least 30 000 years. They were followed by the pastoral KhoiKhoi (Hottentots) and later by Bantu groups who migrated from the northwestern and Easter regions of Africa sometime during the First or Second Century AD and settled along the Chobe River. Different Bantu groups, including the Tswana, lived relatively amicably in small groupings across the Kalahari until the 18th Century. Disputes were solved through fragmentation, the dissatisfied party simply gathered and tramped off to establish another domain elsewhere.

By 1800, pastoralists had settled all suitable grazing lands around the fringes of the Kalahari and peaceful fragmentation was no longer a feasible solution to disputes. Land south of the Molopo River became the British Crown Colony of Bechuanaland, while the area north became the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland (which is now Botswana).
Although there were a few years when it seemed Britain was going to cede control of Bechuanaland to Cecil Rhode’s British South African Company, Britain maintained control of the Bechuanaland until 1966.
Nationalism built during the 1950’s and 60’s and as early as 1955 it had become apparent that Britain was preparing to release its grip. General elections were held in 1965 and Seretse Khama was elected president.

On 30 September, the Republic of Botswana gained independence. The settled population of the Botswana section of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was relocated in 1938 and the use of the Park by nomadic people steadily reduced after that time. South Africa and Botswana have been working in collaboration since 1948.


Mier

The Mier community of the Kalahari mainly originated from the people of Captain Vilander who, more than 150 years ago settled themselves across an extended area that reached from Rietfontein as the central point to the Orange River and into the German West Africa (Later South West Africa and presently Namibia) and Bechuanaland (Presently Botswana). They mainly farmed with sheep, goats and cattle in the hardveld south of the Kalahari dunes.

The cattle, horses and donkeys grazed in the duneveld but due to the scarcity of water they had to always return to the hardveld. One day Mr. Dirk Vilander discovered an aardvark burrow filled with water. When he tried to drink from the water, so the story goes, he noticed the water was full of ants.
He named the place Mier; Afrikaans word for ant and it is still so called today

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:05 am 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
ECOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK


TOPOGRAPHY

The modern Kalahari Desert, a small remnant of original dune desert, lies the Kalahari sand beds – a massive expanse of sand that covers 1 630 000 Km /2 from just north of the equator to the banks of the Orange River in South Africa. The sand originated from rocks, lying in a shallow basin, that were eroded by wind over millions of years.
The red colour of the dunes is caused by iron oxide, which covers each sand grain. The rainfall of the area is too low to reduce this iron oxide, and a wonderful variety of colours can be found in the desert sand.

The dunes of the Kalahari hide the ancient sedimentary rocks, which are believed to be rich in fossil deposits. The dunes are fixed and are no longer moved by the wind. They do, however, owe their characteristic shape to wind, which exposes the moist sand beneath. The moist sand is then eroded further. The sand that is removed is deposited on the southwest side of the dune, which results in a gentler gradient. These longitudinal dunes are called seif dunes, an Arab word meaning “sword”.

Sand overlies most of the geology of the Kalahari. Immediately beneath sand lies a vast sheet of calcareous or silicified sand, or sandstone, which contains grits and minor conglomerates thus making up the Kalahari system. This covers the blue shale’s of the Dwyka series that has occasional dolerite intrusions.

Field observations made during reconnaissance soil survey of the (former) Kalahari Gemsbok National Park showed that a variety of soils occur within the broad group of the so –called Kalahari – sands.

The soils have characteristically poorly developed profiles.
The red soils are notably infertile with low levels of phosphate, magnesium, potassium, sodium and carbon, and when less than two metres deep an incapacity to hold water.
The yellow soils of the pans and riverbeds have higher clay components, and are less permeable to water. The variability in fertility and water holding capacity between the 2 major soil types has a direct effect on the vegetation and hence animal utilisation.

The Kalahari forms part of the South West Arid biome. Two such areas occur in Africa, namely the Somali Arid and Sudan Arid.
This area is part of the Kalahari Thornveld, which is also divided into the Kalahari Thornveld Proper and the Vryburg Shrub Bushveld.

About 20% of the Kalahari – district in South Africa are conserved at present. It includes mostly the Thorny Kalahari-dune bushveld and the Shrub Kalahari bushveld.
Unfortunately, less than 1% of the other five Kalahari vegetation types are conserved at present.

In general, the Kalahari shows little habitat variation.
Although the whole area is covered with Kalahari-sand, there is a rainfall gradient that increase from the southwest to the northeast and this shows in the plant communities and species composition.
As mentioned, is rain the main factor, which influences the Kalahari System.

There are seven main habitats in this area:

 Dune Crest
 Grass plains
 Open thick tree-savannah of the lower dunes and plains
 Dune valleys (-streets), pan skirts and river terraces
 Calcrete banks near pans and rivers
 Pans
 Rivers

With in these habitats the plant communities is as such:

Communities of the sand:

The vegetation of the sandy soils is an open shrub to tree savannah;

 Communities, which are mostly found on the crest of dunes,
 Communities found in the northern and eastern part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park on the undulating to flat, red to pinky, sandy surface.
 Tree savannah communities, in the northern corner of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (South Africa), are found on pink, compact sand.
 Communities found on red sand of dune valleys or “streets” and lower slopes of dunes in the southern Kalahari.
 Communities’ occurring on the pink to white sand, which is a mixture of in fertile red and calcareous white sand.
 Communities found on more or less compact white to slightly pink sand probably deposited both by Aelian and fluviatile action.
 Communities found on red or reddish sand on undulating flats or low dunes.
 Communities common on red or reddish sand on undulating flats or low dunes. Physiognomically it represents a more shrub – dominated vegetation that is sometimes the result of overgrazing.
 No clear line of separation between the more or less undisturbed shrub vegetation and that of disturbed areas could be found, in spite of extremes being quite different.
 Communities of red to pink sands undulating flats or low dunes.
 Communities found on pink to whitish sand especially in dunes slacks.
 Communities found on red or pink sand on severely overgrazed, shifting dunes.
 Communities found on red to pink sand.

Communities of the calcrete:

 Communities found on the calcrete banks of the rivers.
 Communities on the calcrete outcrops and white sands.

Communities of the riverbeds:

 Communities found on exposed clayey or silty alluvial soils, rich in calcium and phosphate in the dry beds of the Auob or the Nossob.

Other:

 Communities occurring in small patches near pans, on shallow sand over calcrete outcrops or gravel, but also occur on white compact sand away from the pans.

Most of the Flora species are also “escape-type” species, which wait out the harsh, waterless periods in the form of seeds, bulbs and dormant buds, which lie on the soil surface.


Invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds found in the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, had been surveyed, studied and classified by a number of people and researchers since 1958.
In the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, fifty, five species of reptiles have been recorded.

Migrations do occur between the two countries, South Africa and Botswana, but in regards to the birds, migrations between South Africa and foreign countries is much more prominent. A total of 264 bird species have been recorded for the hole of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, where 152 are vagrants, 16 migrants, 78 are residents and 18 nomadic. None of the bird species is endangered, but species such as the Cape vulture Gyps coprotheres , Lappet faced vulture Torgos tracheliotus, Martial Eagle Polemaetus bellicosus, Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus, Kori bustard Ardeotis kori,
In addition, Ludwig’s bustard Neotis ludwigii, are considered vulnerable.

There are 60 mammal species that have been recorded and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Rodentia and carnivoria are the two largest families with 27% and 33% respectively, with the Pangolin Manis emminckii, Honey badger Mellivora capensis, African wildcat Felis lybica, and Antbear Orytheropus afer considered to be vulnerable.
Most of the species found in this area are uniquely adapted to an extreme environment and climatic factors.


Habitat preference:

Most of the animals are concentrated in the riverbeds; species like the springbok, Blue wildebeest and a majority of the Gemsbok, although they also have a slight preference for the dune veld.
This is mainly because there are many water points in the riverbeds. However, species like Eland, Koedoe, Red hartebeest, Steenbok and common duiker are very scarcely seen in the riverbeds, they have a high preference for the dune veld.


Water requirements:

The Nossob and Aoub Rivers are ephemeral rivers meaning that they only flow for a short period during very good rainy season. A portion of the Aoub River is said to flow approximately once every 11 years, the Nossob perhaps twice every 100 years.
The Nossob River last flooded in 1963 and the Aoub in 1973, 1974 and 2000. They do, however, carry rainwater in the wet season and there is moisture beneath their beds, a precious resource that is tapped to sustain life in the area.

The Nossob meanders a lot. In the north, the riverbed is wide with slightly raised alluvial plains and widely flanking dunes. Further downstream between the Nossob and Twee Rivieren rest camps, the number of trees seems to dwindle and the course suddenly cuts through calcrete deposits turning southwestward. The banks are relatively steep, narrow and rocky. The Aoub also has two discernible segments that differ in appearance and atmosphere. It is characterised by the beautiful stands of large grey camel thorn trees.

With the predominantly sandy southern Kalahari, the availability of natural supplies of drinking water is strictly seasonal, being restricted to the harder bottomed pans and fossil riverbeds, for short periods during the summer rainfall period (Knight 1995a). For the remainder of the year the region is generally devoid of drinking water, thus the indigenous wild life has to either, migrate to permanent sources of drinking water or use alternative sources such as underground storage organs or melons (tsammas).

Thus, typically migratory ungulates spend the wet season in the more arid parts of their range, which have little or no permanent surface water. During the dry periods, they move to regions with a higher rainfall and permanent surface water. This pattern has been recorded for a variety of ungulates species in different regions, including the Serengeti.

Most of the animals are not very water-dependant and can get their moisture supplements from the vegetation, thus quite adapted to the arid environment. Examples are Eland, Red hartebeest, Gemsbok and Springbok. However, Kudu and especially Blue wildebeest is water dependent.
With the clumped distribution of water by quality, with the Auob river’s water being more fresh and the water of the Nossob river being much more mineralised; animals have a higher preference to the fresh water for drinking and are attracted to the mineral deposits in the soil at water holes with saline water than the water itself.


Because this area is untouched it forms a self-sustaining ecosystem, but within this bigger picture there is a number of smaller / micro-ecosystems.

A few of these micro-ecosystems would be:

 Pools of water
 Pans
 Burrows made by animals like ant bears and thus Sand.
 Camel thorn and Sociable weavers’ nests.
 Shepherds trees.


1. Pools of water.

Water is a limiting factor in the Kalahari, thus pools will attract a lot of attention, mostly forming in sections of the riverbed or in pans after a rain shower.
A lot of water beetles, butterflies, bees and other insects congregate in and around these pools. Frogs will also emerge from their underground hiding and on their part will feed on these insects, as will terrapins.

With this small abundance, bird like herons will join in to utilize the water and the food supply. Other birds like vultures, lappet faced and white backed, batteleur's and tawny eagles can also be seen around these pools, the latter two maybe also feasting on the insects, but mainly enjoying the water-drinking and bathing. Smaller animals can also be found; rodents-mice, squirrels, nocturnal animals and lizards.


2. Pans

Over a 1000 pans occurs, scattered in the duneveld and is the focus point for many animals. Mostly the soil at these pans are white, contains calk, sandy to clay soils.


3. Burrows made by ant bears-Sand


Sand plays a very important role in the ecology of this area.
If you stop on a dune and take the time to observe it comes alive with insects, tracks, and millions of small things.

The quarts-grains of the sandy soil are easily moveable, thus it is very easy to dig a hole in it, but a hole like that can collapse just as easily.
Many adaptations on which especially the smaller animals depend for protection against the climate and predation, is characteristic of the Kalahari. The most of them survive the harsh temperatures through hiding in damp, cooler holes, which they dug themselves or by occupying holes left by other animals.





A hole like this provides shelter for numerous animals as mentioned, the minute one leave and another will move in.
In holes of example an ant bear, many different insects can make a part of it their home.
If the ant bear leaves either brown or spotted hyena can move in, and in the roof of the opening birds like the ant, eating chat will make their nests.


4. Camel thorns and Sociable weavers’ nests


The Camel thorn provides the nesting for sociable weavers and other birds, but also for lizards and tree rats.
It is not just the sociable weavers that stay in those nests, different kinds of insects can occupy vacant space and the pigmy falcon lives in commune with the weavers.
Just the bottom part of the nest which consist out of numerous chambers, is used for nesting the top part forms a hood with one large vacant chamber inside used for heat regulation. Throughout the seasons the fluctuation of the temperatures is these nests isn’t more that a few degrees.

Larger birds will also make use of these nests for nesting, just not inside but on top.
Birds of prey, secretary birds, eagles, and owls will nest on top of these nests because it provides a favourable constant temperature for their eggs to incubate and hatch.

Small spotted genets, African wildcats and even snakes like the Cape cobra on their part, prey on these birds.
Leopards will also use the Camel thorn as shelter during the day and so storing place during the nighttime if it made a kill.


5. Shepherds trees


A tree species that thrive in the dune system, important for its food supply to the organisms (leave full of protein, flowers rich in nectar and its fruit savoured by bird and other animals) and shade it provides in the hot summer against extreme sand temperatures.

Anything from lion to springhare to mice and insects congregates under these trees protecting from rays of the sun.
Its often-hollow trunk, acts as a storage tank, collecting rainwater and retaining it during the long dry periods, in the waiting for the next rains.
Beehives are also often found inside these trunks, of which the honey was used for all purposes by the Busman, and still utilised by animals that are able to gain access.

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:09 am 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
GEOLOGY


Abstract- The floor of the Kalahari Group is only known from boreholes. It consists of rocks of the Karoo Sequence with its associated intrusions of dolerite. The pre-Kalahari topography was dissected by rivers, which drained in the direction of the present Botswana.

The distribution of the oldest formation of the Kalahari Group, the Wessels Formation (Clayey gravel), and the overlying Budin Formation (Clay) was also determined from borehole records. The Karoo Sequence was probably the source of these rocks. The overlying Eden Formation (Sandstone, grit and conglomerate) had a source, which could be yield much sand. All these formations were deposited under fluviatile conditions.

The Mokalanen Formation (Calcrete) and the Gordonia Formationh (Sand) indicate a change from a humid to an arid environment. The Lonely Formation (Clayey diatomaceous limestone) was deposited in a lacustrine environment. It also indicates a higher rainfall in an otherwise arid period. The Goeboe Formation consists of clay and sand in the pans and rivers


Geological history

Dissected topography with a general drainage direction towards the present Botswana existed during the Miocene period (Thomas 1981). These river valleys were filled by sandy clay, which becomes richer in sand higher upwards in the succession. Braided streams eroded parts of their floors and redeposit the material as poorly rounded and sorted conglomerates. During a drier period at the end of the Tertiary (Thomas 1981) duricrust in the form of calcrete and silcrete formed. Ward, Seely & Lancaster (1983), and the episode as late Miocene. Scree was cemented by the calcrete to form conglomerate.

During the early Quaternary, wetter weather caused active erosion by rivers with drainage towards the south and the solution of basins in the calcrete. During drier periods wind action excavated pans. The depth of the water table determines the maximum depth of the pans.
During a very arid period, sand was blown in to cover the whole area but episodic rains were enough for the rivers to keep their channels clear of sand.

During a recent wet phase or phases from approximately 19 000 years B.P. tp 12 000 years B.P. (Heine 1978) diatoms and molluscs flourished in the pans and accumulated in the clayey and calcareous pan deposits to from readily identifiable beds. During later period of aridity, the prevailing winds formed most of the linear dunes as they are known today. The filling of the Nossob riverbed between Kaspersdraai and Union’s End probably occurred during this time. It was probably a result of the river dumping its loads of sand when it did not have enough water to flow any further and the filling of the river course by windblown sand.
The present wetter period keeps the vegetation and consequently the sand stabilised.

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:55 pm 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
THE KALAHARI ECOSYSTEM (IN DEPTH) - Part 1


Abstract – Our present knowledge of the functional processes within the Kalahari ecosystem is insufficient to provide a total understanding of the system. In this paper the uniqueness of the Kalahari ecosystem is discussed, with special emphasis on its faunal and floristic components as well as the remarkable micro-ecosystem which are encountered.

Introduction

The term Kalahari was derived from a black tribe, the Kgalagadi, who use to inhabit this area. The word as we know it today was probably used the first time by Dr. Andrew Smith in 1834.
The Kalahari stretches from the Orange River to tropical Africa and is described as the largest continues sand area in the world. The concept of the Kalahari is confused by the fact that Passarge (1904) and Wellington (1958) included the well watered Okavango Delta and the Makgalagadi internal drainage system in a description of the Middle Kgalagadi. Others interpret the Kalahari as an arid sandy area with no surface water. The latter interpretation suits me better, and I do not construe the Okavango Delta as part of the Kalahari sensu stricto.

It is irrelevant whether the Kalahari is accepted as a desert or semi-desert. It is of importance, though, to acknowledge that it forms part of the South West Arid biome. Two other such areas occur in Africa, namely the Somali Arid and Sudan Arid.

In recent years a gradual shift of emphasis has taken place in the study of ecosystems. It has moved away from the mere description of the structural components to the study of energy flow, nutrient cycles, productivity and other functional aspects. We have a reasonable knowledge of the structure of the Kalahari ecosystem, because there is a fair amount of data available on the landscape, the geology and geological history, the soils, the climate, the vegetation and animals, but we do not know enough about the functional relationships as yet. Consequently, we do not have a total understanding of the Kalahari ecosystem and therefore it is difficult to obtain a holistic view of the situation.

I have chosen the easy way of surveying the ecosystem, namely by discussing a few ecological phenomena which give the Kalahari its particular identity thereby accentuating its uniqueness and difference. There are a number of facts which distinguish the Kalahari from other biomes, and I will take a closer look at the wonder of the Kalahari ecosystem, the distinctive character of its vegetation and animals and the influence of man on this ecosystem.

Vegetation

In an arid ecosystem food, water and shelter are the most important resources competed for. As far as the vegetation is concerned, I’m going to refer briefly to
a) Plants as a source of food and water and b) the role trees in the Kalahari.
The Kalahari vegetation is not typical desert vegetation and the large number of ephemerals which occur is a special characteristic. These are annuals distinguished by a short life cycle. As soon as it rains during the growing season, the seed immediately germinates and the life cycle is completed in an unbelievable short span of time. It is an important source of food for all species of game and has a great influence on the migratory patterns of the larger species.
The annuals in some parts of the South West Arid are of the most beautiful examples of South Africa’s wealth of flowers, and there could hardly be any other place in the world where so many plant species occur which can be used as a source of water by man and animal.
The best-known of these is the tsamma (Citrullus lanatus), which is the most important source of food and water in the Kalahari. I regard it as the wonderplant of the Kalahari, because it is utilised by many animal species and it is the only source of water for the Bushmen over a long periods of time. The latter also use it as a source of food, either raw or cooked.
Apart from the tsamma, there are also the different types of wild cucumbers, as well as the large number of survival plants in the form of bulbs and tubers and other growths which occur sub terrestrially. Unfortunately I do not have a list of all the underground growths utilised by animals, but if one regards all the fresh diggings by gemsbok and other species of game, porcupines and the rodents, encountered in the Kalahari every morning, one realises what great food potential lies beneath the surface of the soil. It is of immeasurable value to survival in an ecosystem in particular.
Trees play an important part in providing food and shelter for a variety of animals in all biomes, but in arid areas where it is dry and hot, the tree plays an even greater role than in other ecosystems. Where there are trees, there is life.
A tree offers shelter and nesting for birds; it is permanent home for the tree rat ( Thallomys paedulcus) and certain reptile species; it provides shade against the searing heat for antelopes and other animals; it is the lair of the lion and leopard and many other smaller mammals; the pods of the camel thorn and other Acacia species are important sources of food, while the animals eating it play an important role in the distribution and germination of the seed. Life in the Kalahari to a large extent revolves around two trees, namely the camel thorn Acacia erioloba and the shepherd’s tree Boscia albitrunca.
The trees of the Kalahari also play an important role in the lives of insects and other invertrebrates, although indirectly at times. A good example is the sand tampan Ornithodornus savignyi which is characteristic of the Kalahari sandveld and depends on game for food, on sandy soil and shadow provided by a tree. Any of these three components can have a limiting influence on its distribution.

Animal life

A desert or semi-desert provides an ideal environment for a small ectothermic animal, but I would like to discuss two endothermic classes, namely birds and mammals of the Kalahari.

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:13 am 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
Part 2

Birds

Mills (1976) provided general information on the composition of the avifauna of the Kalahari and published a list of 214 identified in the Kalahari, 75 (35,0%) of which are resident birds. Fifty per cent of the avifauna in the Kruger National Park are resident birds.
The question arises whether the Kalahari had fewer resident birds per ratio that the Kruger National Park as a result of opportunism. It is a well-known fact that opportunistic behaviour enables animals to profit by favourable conditions wherever it may occur. Birds in particular are capable by means of opportunism to enjoy the better of two worlds.
The 75 resident bird species which occur in the Kalahari display a wide variety of adaptations to cope with unfavourable conditions.
Most of these are behavioural adaptations, such as the position and type of nest, activity rhythms and even in the way which the eggs are hatched.
Three birds of the Kalahari deserve special mention. One of these, which is also endemic to the area, is the sociable weaver Philetairus socius , which will be referred to later.
One of the most remarkable phenomena of the Kalahari is to see ostriches Struthio camelus walking about on a hot summer’s day with a ground temperature of 70°C.
This is nothing extraordinary or an ostrich, because this bird is a combination of anatomical, physiological and ethological adaptations. If no other water is available, it will drink salt water and the redundant salt is secreted through the nasal glands; if there is no water available at all, it can tolerate a loss of 25% of body weight as a result of dehydration. Its body temperature is regulated by body orientation and the erection and position of the feathers.
In the Kalahari you will also find a bird which carries water to its offspring, namely the male Namaqua sandgrouse Pterocles namaqua . This bird first rubs its breast on the sand to make the feathers stand upright so that it can be easily soaked when the bird drinks water, and then enters the water to soak it breast feathers. It will then fly a distance of 60 kilometres (or more) to its young, who rake their beaks through the breast feathers in order to utilise every drop of moisture.


Mammals

Survival is a major problem experienced by any desert animal. Food, water and shelter are probably the most important restricting factors for desert animals and we have knowledge of various physiological, anatomical and ethological mechanisms developed to overcome these problems. The mass migration of Kalahari animals, probably one of the most gripping phenomena in the animal world, represent on of these mechanisms. Much can be said about the extent and causes of the migrations, as well as about other ethological aspects, physiological and morphological adaptations.
It will suffice to say that the survival mechanisms of mammals are of the most dynamic aspects of the Kalahari ecosystem. Other aspects of mammal ecology which I would like to mention, are energy relationships, one of the fundamental concepts in modern ecology which is of great importance in an arid area.
Just as a water balance is of importance, there also exists an energy balance which means that the energy which enters an ecosystem must be equal to or exceed the energy consumed. This phenomenon places serious restrictions on individual animals as well as populations. The energy available for herbivores, and thus also for carnivores, is supplied by the primary producer, namely plants, and the amount of energy produced is determined by the soil, vegetation, sunshine, rainfall and temperature of the environment. Should any of these factors display large fluctuations from year to year; the amount of energy that enters an ecosystem will vary accordingly. The changeability in the influx of energy indeed poses one of the biggest problems for the fauna in an arid area such as the Kalahari.
Not much is known about the energy relationships of the mammals of Africa, and even less is known about the mammals of the arid area.
According to a tentative model of energy flow in the Serengeti ecosystem, mammals utilise about 15% of the total amount of annual primary production. The rest of the primary production is removed by invertebrates and fire.
Neither is much known about the predator-prey energy relationship. In the Serengeti it was determined that about 30 00kg/dry weight of food per year is necessary to maintain one cheetah, which represents a relationship of cheetah: prey: vegetation of 1; 55; 512.
The maintenance of predators in an ecosystem is very expensive in terms of energy. According to Delaney & Happold (1979) the relationship between the cheetah and its prey is representative of all carnivores, but it seems as if this statement is not applicable to the Kalahari lion Panthera leo vernayi. I cannot comment about other carnivores. Compared to the cheetah: prey mass relationship of 1:55, that for the Kalahari lion is 1;18. I do not know the food intake of the lion’s prey animals, so the energy pyramid cannot be completed.
However, I do know that a lion utilises relatively less energy than a cheetah to maintain itself in its ecosystem, and it is also possible that the predators which occur in an arid ecosystem eat less than those in other ecosystems.
This strengthens the hypothesis that the number of lion and other predators Is restricted by their own food resources and that predation plays a small part in the regulation of prey population numbers.

Micro-ecosystems within the Kalahari

Since it is beyond my comprehensive faculty to totally grasp the larger Kalahari ecosystem with all its biotic populations and abiotic components. I prefer to look (perforce by isolation) at smaller ecosystems which exist within the larger ecosystem instead.
What are the requirements for a system to be regarded as a smaller ecosystem? As far as I am concerned, an entity can be regarded as an ecosystem as long as all the main components are present and cooperate in obtaining some or other form of stability, even only for a short while. A temporary pool of water is a classical example of a short-lived ecosystem and examples occur in the Kalahari on an irregular basis. However, allow me to refer to four smaller ecosystems which function on a permanent basis and have been in existence for millennia and which have just as much functional stability as the larger Kalahari ecosystem.
One of the few thorough studies on aspects of the ecosystem in the Kalahari is the work of Parris (1976) on the Kalahari pan ecosystem in which the interaction of biotic and abiotic components is described. The interactive role played by vegetation, animals, soil, water and wind in creating and maintaining the pans which play such an important role in the lives of the animals, may be of greater importance than that of water itself. In the study most of the basic components of an ecosystem are present and it is a beautiful example of a micro-ecosystem.
Another remarkable example of a small ecosystem which contains all the components of a large ecosystem is the nest of the social weaver. This bird mainly nests in a camel thorn trees, though other trees and telephone posts are also used. The shelter provided by the nest reduces the effect of the daily temperature fluctuations and is a good example of a microclimate in an environment characterised by extreme temperatures and unfavourable moisture conditions. It is rainproof and provides shade in the summer, insulation against the cold winter, while a relatively constant degree of moisture is maintained inside the nest. The effect of such a favourable microclimate enables the birds to breed at any time of the year. Reproduction seems to be independent of the photo period, but can probably be triggered by rainfall which will ensure a substantial source of food for the young birds. Unluckily for the birds this nest also provides shelter for a number of other animals. Some of these are harmless, such as lizards and certain smaller bird species. The giant eagle owl Bubo lacteus, and to a lesser degree the martial eagle Polemaetus bellicosus , use the roof of the nest as a platform for their own nests. The pigmy falcon Poliohierax semitorquatus sometimes nests inside a social weaver nest. It is known that they will eat some of the eggs and young birds, but they do not seem to be a serious threat. The only real predator, who shares the nest of the social weaver, is the Cape cobra Naja nivea, which can wipe out a whole colony of young birds. These birds have a better chance of survival by breeding during winter when the snakes are inactive.
I have already mentioned that I regard the tsama as the wonderplant of the Kalahari. Maybe the shepherd’s tree should have this honour, but let us call this tree the wondertree of the Kalahari. The role played by this tree cannot be overestimated. No wonder Palgrave (1977) called it “the tree of life”. Bothma (1982a, 1982b) wrote two interesting articles on the shepherd’s tree in which he illustrated what an important source of food and shelter it provides for different species of animals and how this tree with its overhanging branches creates an ideal microhabitat for the larger predators and their young. Not only does it create ideal shelter, but the temperature of the sand under the tree can be up to 21°C lower than that of the sand in the open which may have a temperature of 70°C.
Over the years I have noted the types of tree under which the Kalahari Lion rests up during the day, and in 90% of the 150 observations lion used shepherd’s trees for this purpose. I have never found young lion cubs in the Kalahari under any other tree than the shepherd’s tree.

This plant provides shelter for large species of game and small mammals alike. In numerable insects hide in the dense branches. in the cool sand beneath the tree the sand tampan occurs, while the giant millipede and many other invertebrates, lizards and geckos occur on the surface of the soil. The social weaver nests in this tree, and it provides food and shelter or a place to nest for many other bird species.
With the interactioin of so many biotic components this is a real good example of a micro-ecosystem.
The fourth micro-system I would like to mention is the one which occurs below the soil and which has probably reached its maximum development in the Kalahari with its extensive sand cover. An outstanding characteristic of the Kalahari is the occurrence of thousands, probably millions, of holes and tunnels in the sand and out of which unbelievable variety of animal species appear at day or night to carry out their activities.
It may be far-fetched to state that these underground inhabitants are functionally related, yet they form a distinctive community with its own microclimate, to a great extend attached by an underground habitat, sometimes by the same food web, or maybe only by their daily contact.
While the shepherd’s tree is the rendezvous point above the ground for many animals’ species, the ant-bear hole fulfils this role under ground. The following mammals use ant-bear holes for shelter, escape and breeding purposes: leopard Panthera pardus, spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta, brown hyena Hyaena brunnea, Cape wild cat Felis lybica, aardwolf Proteles cristatus, black-backed jackal Canis mesomelas, various smaller predators and the porcupine Hystrix africaeaustralis.
Smithers (1971) mentioned that the python Python sebae lays its eggs in ant-bear holes, and it can be accepted that other snakes such as the Cape cobra, and most probably lizards will make use of these holes. The ant-eating Chat Myrmecocichla formicivora sometimes makes its nest in the roof of an ant-bear hole.
Thus the ant-bear Orycteropus afer plays an important role in the ecology of this ecosystem, because it provides a home with favourable temperature and moisture conditions to a large variety of animal species. Since the inhabitants of ant-bear holes usually only make use of it on a temporary basis as escape or shelter or for breeding purposes, it is difficult to describe it as a functional unit. But when a hyena gives birth to her young and raises them there, maybe for several generations, there may be a functional stability for a period of time during which the soil, certain physical factors, one or more animal species and the surrounding vegetation play a part.
The smaller holes and tunnel systems which are characteristic of the Klahari and which have been described inter alia by De Graaff & Nell (1965) are utilised on a much more permanent basis (De Graaff & Nel op.cit). they identified six plant species used for nesting purposes in the tunnel system of the Karoo rat Parotomys brantsii; the associated fauna consisted of a lizard, four types of scorpion and various types of beetle, which all lived in harmony with the Karoo rat in a very favourable microclimate as far as moisture and temperature are concerned.
Nel (1967) found seed of the Devil’s thorn Tribulus terrestris, the mesquite tree Prosopis sp. and various grass species in the tunnel system of the short-tailed gerbil Desmodillus auricularis. The associated fauns consisted of three types of lizard, two scorpions, and a large number of millipedes.

Another type of community occurs in the tunnels of the ground squirrel Xerus inauris. These rodents live in colonies, and the yellow mongoose Cynictis penicillata, the suricate Suricata suricata and possibly also smaller rodents cohabit with it.
According to Smithers (1971) the yellow mongoose may sometimes prey on the young ground squirrel.
I think that underground vegetation and animal life of the Kalahari are its most important distinguished characteristics.

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:47 am 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
Part 3 - Final

Man and the Kalahari ecosystem.


A well know ecologist, Robert Smith (1974), said the following regarding the basic concepts of an ecosystem: “The ecosystem has historical aspects; the present is related to the past, and the future Is related to the present.” In order to see an ecosystem in perspective, one may not ignore its history.
It is not always realised that the Kalahari of today is not necessarily the Kalahari which existed a thousand years ago. Even as recent as 1850 permanent water occurred at many places in the Kalahari. This water disappeared, however, and caused great changes in the game populations.
Animals which are dependent on water, such as buffalo Syncerus caffer, zebra Equus burchelli, elephant Loxodonta Africana and rhinoceros Diceros bicornis, disappeared while other species such as gemsbok Oryx gazelle, eland Taurotragus oryx, red hartebeest Alcelaphus buselaphus caama, springbok Antidorcas Marsupialis and probably also the blue wildebeest Connochaetes taurinus, flourished.
If we go back further, to the Middle Stone Age 20 000 to 100 000 years ago, we find that giant zebra Equus capensis, giant buffalo Pelorovis antiquus, dwarf springbok Antidorcas bondi, and possibly also giant hartebeest, occurred in the Kalahari.
The presence of the zebra and buffalo indicates that the climate must have been cooler and moister than at present.
The veil is also slowly being lifted from the history of man. Artefacts dating from the earlier Stone Age than 100 000 years ago, are being found along the riverbeds in the Kalahari.
One gets a clear picture of man and his activities in the Later Stone Age (20 000 BC to the 20TH century AD). The people of this period were the San Bushman and their ancestors. The terms San and Bushmen are used rather loosely in the following paragraphs.
The Bushmen are the oldest Kalahari dwellers and played an important role in the Kalahari ecosystem. However, they also lived in a wide variety of environments apart from the Kalahari – the Karoo, the Bushveld, the Lowveld, the Highveld, and even the Drakensburg. The physical characteristics which distinguish the Bushman, such as a childlike appearance, a small posture and steatopygia, are not desert adaptions. Neither anatomy nor physiology, but this cultural adaptability, has enabled him to inhabit such a wide variety of environments.
The San plays a dual part in his ecosystem: he is a hunter and gatherer of veldfood. He hunts a wide variety of animals: insects, snakes, tortoises, birds, rodents (mice, springhares and porcupines),l predators such as various types of jackal and even cheetah, and all types of available game from steenbok to eland and giraffe. The San does not waste any food, and therefore he kills only as much as he needs. His method of hunting (with bow and arrow) and by using traps, does not really disturb the game. He has very little impact on the environment.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the San’s life in a hunter-gatherer economy is his dependence on veldfood and his territorial behaviour. Veldfood means more to them than meat and more than half of his diet consists thereof. Tsama, the gemsbok cucumber Acanthosicyos naudinianus, wild cucumber Cucumis hookeri, in fact everything eaten by wild animals, appears on the San’s menu, and the tsama in particular is indispensable as a source of food and water.
According to Campbell (1976) some Bushman diets consists of more than 90% of vegetable matter. More than 200 types f edible plants, which are utilised by them in some form or the other, occur in the Okavango. The variety will be much smaller in the dry, waterless Kalahari and Silberbauer 91965) mentioned 34 plant species utilised by these people in this area, but the actual number is probably much higher.
Robert Ardrey (1967) said in his well-known book “The Territorial Imperative”: ”Man is as much a territorial animal as is a mocking bird singing in the clear Californian night.” Just as many animals have a territorium where they hunt and live and which they defend against other animals of their kind, each San group has its own area outside which they will not hunt or gather food. Their way of living reminds one of the hyenas of the Ngorongoro Crater where the floor of the crater is divided into a number of territoria. A hyena will never hunt outside its territorium borders of the territorium. Such an action could result in a fight. According to Ardrey a Bushman will not follow even a wounded animal into another group’s territorium. As a result the San is a nature conservationist. They work sparingly with veldfood and game in their own territorium and will never scare away the game from their area.
From about 200 BC Black stock farmers moved into the Kalahari from the north-east and north of Botswana, and they had a serious influence on the habitat. Their hunting methods also differed from those of the Bushmen. While the San used bow and arrow and traps, the Blacks organised large hunts and were armed with kierie, assegai and axes,. They even used dogs.
It is not certain when the first White farmers settled in the Kalahari, but their farming activities, such as fences, water installations, changing the habitat, hunting with rifles and the use of poison, had a great impact on this area. Man’s influence had a wide impact. The fences which were erected to control foot and mouth disease and other illnesses, in many instances cut right across the traditional migration routes of the wildebeest, zebra and maybe other animals too. This had a destructive influence on the blue wildebeest in particular.
According to Silberbauer (1965) a game census executed in 1964 indicated that fresh carcasses counted along one of the fences in Botswana represented one0tenth of the remaining animals. In an article published on 23 May 1983 Mr. Stanley Johnson, Conservative Member of Parliament in England and Vice-President of theEEC’s committee on environment and public health, said, among other things, the following about the fences in Botswana: “Unseen and unheard, a disaster is threatening the herds of animals which inhabit one of Africa’s last great natural reserves. I have just been in Botswana and seen the dangers facing the wildebeest, hartebeest, elephant, buffalo and zebra roaming the Kalahari.
In its simplest terms, the problem is fences.
The most notorious barrier built independence-the Kuke fence which has shut off wildlife from its watering places in the Okavango and along the Boteti River – has resulted in the death, directly or indirectly, of hundreds or thousands of animals. More that a quarter of a million of wild animals die in the country as whole each year because of the fences”


Conclusion


There are few areas in the world which contain so many exciting components as the Kalahari ecosystem: the historical and alas diminishing migratory movements of this animals, its remarkable sand –dunes, its survival problems, its underground plant food, its underground animal community, its remarkable micro-ecosystems, its primitive territorial man; apparently unattached components, but then I remember the words of Leopold (1966): “The land is one organism. Its parts, like our own parts, complete with each other and co-operate with each other” This is how we must regard the Kalahari: one ecosystem, one giant organism, the parts of which complete with each other but also live together in harmony.

Well I think there is quite some info to be processed before we should go on, if there is specific information regarding the park you would like to know more about , let me know and I can then post it.

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:37 am 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
Again if there is anything else you would like to know about the Park and/or the Fauna and Flora let me know and I can post it.

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:15 pm 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:14 pm
Posts: 25
@ Kgalagadi Guru, Thank you for the interesting information.

Is there any information of the movement of soldiers during first world war?
My husbands grandfather went with horses from Graaf Reinett to South West during 1914- 1919.
We have medals and memento's of his trip. There is for instance an empty canon shell that he brough back from South West. The story is that each night he threw it away and then the next morning he again picked it up again and took it further on his trip on horse.
We are really interested to find out the route they took and if they used the boreholes.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:25 pm 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
@EstelleM

I will have a look if we do have such information on hand if I do find anything I will post it. The information will however be for the KTP region especially Grootkolk area.

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kgalagadi Information Page
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:25 am 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Posts: 2572
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP
Here are some information onthe activities currently on offer at Kgalagadi.

Kgalagadi offers a range of Adventure Activities from the three main camps – Twee Rivieren, Nossob and Mata-Mata.
Below is a set out of the Prices, Duration of the activity.
Game Drives:

Morning Drive – Sunset Drive – Night Drive

Morning Game Drives

Month Drive
Starts

January 05h30
February 05h30
March 06h00
April 06h30
May 06h30
June 07h00
July 07h00
August 07h00
September 06h00
October 05h30
November 05h00
December 05h00

Sunset Game Drive

Month Drive
Starts


January 18h30
February 18h30
March 18h00
April 17h30
May 17h00
June 17h00
July 17h00
August 17h30
September 17h30
October 18h00
November 18h30
December 18h30


Night drive

Month Drive
Starts


January 21h30
February 21h30
March 21h00
April 20h30
May 20h00
June 20h00
July 20h00
August 20h30
September 20h30
October 21h00
November 21h30
December 21h30


The current price is R 160, 00 per Adult and R 80, 00 per Child. The Morning Drive and Sunset drive should be between 2,5 and 3 hours . The Night drive should be about 2 hours.

Full Day Drive.



Month Drive
Starts


January 05h30 April 06h30 July 07h00 October 05h30
February 05h30 May 06h30 August 07h00 November 05h00
March 06h00 June 07h00 September 06h00 December 05h00


The full day drive should be about a 6 hours drive, with a break in-between for guests to stretch their legs. The current price is R 275, 00 per adult and R 138, 00 per child.

Morning Walks – Afternoon Walks

Morning Walks

Month Walk
Starts


January 05h30
February 05h30
March 06h00
April 06h30
May 06h30
June 07h00
July 07h00
August 07h00
September 06h00
October 05h30
November 05h00
December 05h00


Afternoon Walks

Month Walk
Starts


January 18h00
February 18h00
March 16h30
April 17h00
May 15h30
June 15h30
July 15h30
August 17h00
September 17h00
October 16h30
November 18h00
December 18h00

ALL walks are weather dependant. Walks should be about 2, 5 hours
The current price on walks is R 270, 00 Per Person.

Midnight Drive: Currently only available on Saturday nights.
This drive will start at 23h00 and return 01h00. The reasoning behind this drive is that guests would like to break away from the ‘Normal’ game drive times and experience something new. The price is R 160,00 p.p.

Family Exclusive Drive:
This activity is where guests do want to go out on their own without any other guests on the vehicle; it would take off with family or friend groups.

The pricing of this activity will be R 160, 00 p.p. and children R 80, 00 per child, BUT if there are less than 6 people on the drive they will have to pay for 6, more than 6 people will have to pay for 10 people. (Guests interested in such a drive will be taken out in the Land Rovers).
The times of the drive will be exactly the same as the other drives may it be in the morning or in the afternoon.

All activities are weather dependant.

_________________
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 44 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Jurie van Vuuren at 12:26:03 Submitted by grannyb at 13:36:11 Submitted by Anonymous at 12:10:12 Submitted by Anonymous at 09:31:24