Skip to Content

Kgalagadi Information Page

Augrabies, Kgalagadi, Mokala, Namaqua, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld
User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Kgalagadi Information Page

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:53 pm

NAMES TELL A STORY………..

I'm not sure if I have posted this a few years ago, but with the new forum members I thought it might be a good idea to put it up again.
Very interesting reading.


The names of the waterholes all have an interesting story to the name and the name does mean something.

Local names give us an insight into the history of the region and reveal something about the lives of the people who inhabited these areas in the past. The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park is no exception. It has a curious collection of waterhole names along the Auob and Nossob rivers that provide clues as to what happened there in the past.

Some of these names were simply chosen at random and have no deeper meaning, while others are self-explanatory, such as Gemsbok Plein. However, certain names tell a definite story, names that were chosen by people who had memorable experiences in the Kalahari. These names afford us a glimpse into another era, and help us to imagine what living in this vast wilderness was once like.

One of the stranger features of the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park is the number of Scottish names that have been bestowed on some of the waterholes. Names such as Monro, Dalkeith and Graig Lockhart, which seem out of place in this dry and arid region. They owe their existence to a Scotsman, Rodger Jackson. The Government hired him after the War in 1914 to survey and beacon off farms in an area of the Northern Cape Province that was years later proclaimed the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park. It was during his employment, and probably while he was feeling homesick, that he gave Scottish names to these places.

Thirteenth and Fourteenth Borehole did not always carry these names. Originally, they were referred to as Grootskrij and Kleinskrij. The reason for the name change was the translation of the Afrikaans word “ skrij “ into English; it means diarrhoea. A traveller’s cattle suffered this fate after eating the tsama melons and drinking the water here, and the names served as a warning to those who followed.

Rooibrak waterhole on the Auob river translates into “Red Brack”, and refers to the red stone and the brackish water found in this area.

Leewdril, in the southern Nossob River means “Lion Shiver”. A desert dweller named Matthys climbed a dune near this waterhole and came face to face with a lion. He did not have a gun with him, so he could only stand his ground and face the lion. The lion eyed him for a while, and then turned away. Matthys was shivering in his boots, hence the name “Leeudril”.

Jan se Draai refers to a point in the Nossob river where Jan, a Nama on a trek into the Kalahari, thought better of it and turned back, “draai” being the Afrikaans word for “turn around”.

Marie se Gat, or “Marie’s Hole”, tells the tale of a determined wife, who, when her husband started drinking to much and could not complete work on a borehole, rolled up her sleeves and continued with the rest of the drilling herself.

The people that played a role in the history of the Kalahari are many indeed, and the stories about their exploits would consume many pages. The above serve to give just a small taste of the true flavour of the Kalahari.


Khoekhoense name/names:


Auob: (Voorheen “Oub” gespel) – bitterrivier/ Previously spelled‘Oub’
Bayip: Skaapram / Male sheep
Cubitji Quap: Erdvarkgat /Antbearhole
Gharagab: Blyplek van ou Hottentot-kaptein / Place of old Hottentot Captain
Gunong: Plek van duwweltjies / Place of ‘duwweltjies’
Kaagaan-se-panne: Vernoem na Kgalagadi-kaptein / Named after Kgalagadi-Captain
Kamqua: Groen kolk / Green whirlpool
Kannagauss: Kameeldoringboomkolk / Camelthorn treewhirlpool
Karibgnoos: Dors met jong tsammas geles / Thirst quenched with Tsammas
Kijgames: Groot leeuwyfie / Large Lioness
Kijgarries: Groot bloedsiekte (miltvuur). Die beeste van die Koranna het hier aan die siekte gevrek. Nadat hulle van die beesvleis geeet het, is baie mense dood. / Anthrax , Cattle of the Koranna died of this sickness, after people have eaten the meat plenty died.
KijKij: (Ky Ky-ook Melkvlei genoem) Die grootste / The largest, also named Melkvlei.
Kousaunt: Growwe wit sand / Coarse white sand
Kwangpan: (Piet Mof-se-werf) Gereelde kampplek van Piet de Villiers (Inspektuer van Lande)/ Regular camp site of Piet de Villiers (Inspector of lands)
Mata-Mata: Gee en aan jou sal gegee word./ Give and unto you shall be given.
Moravet: Vernoem na n pragtige swart skilderborskoei van oom Sarel Burger wat by Kamqua weidingsreg gehad en gebly het. Die koei het haar pasgebore kalwers dae lank in die lang gras van die pan weggesteek./ Named after a beautifull black cow of Sarel Burger which had crazing rights at Kamqua, the cow had her newly born calves hidden in the tall grass.
Namabies: Hartbees
Nossob: Swartwater, swartlong-vloei sag en gelymatig. / Blackwater, soft and regular.
NuQuap: Swartstraat (straat=duinestraat, swart=driedorings), Black street (Straat=Dunestreet, Swart=three thron)
O’Kuip: Brakplek / Brackish spot
Polentswa: Verdwaal rivier of skelmrivier. / astray river or rogue river
Sekwatspan: Gaan daar en sien die pan is droog / Go there and see the pan is dry
Sitszas: Water met slegte smaak (skalie), / Water with poor taste
Tsamma: Loop weg / Walk away
Urikaruus: Wit kalkklip. / White Limestone


Afrikaanse name:

Bedinkt: Omdat die stammas op was, het landmeter Jackson hom hier bedink om met sy wa en span osse verder te trek. / Because the Tsammas was finished, surveyor Jackson sat here and consider if he and his oxen should go on.
Bitterpan: Die tsammas hier is bitter./ Tsammas here are bitter.
Dankbaar: Tydens n verdwaalde donderbui kon landmeter Jackson hier weer water opvang. / During a Thunderstorm surveyor Jackson could collect water.
Dikbaardskolk: Jagter genaamd Dikbaard se blyplek tydens jagtyd. / A hunter by the name of Dikbaard stayed here during his hunts.
Eland: Elande dikwels onder bome gekry. / Eland were seen here regularly under the trees.
Erdvarkgatpanne: Nes van erdvarkgate rondom wit van panne / Holes of antbears seen around the white pans.
Gemsbokplein: Gemsbokke is lief om op gelyk vlakte trop te maak. / Oryx love walking on these open areas.
Grasvlei: Vleitjie langs windpomp met heelwat gras. / Stream next to windmill with plenty grass.
Grootbrak: Prominente kalkbanke waar wild brak (soute lek). / Prominent limebanks (salt lick)
Grootkolk: (Voorheen Geinab genoem)-Holte in panne net suid van rivierloop wat swart is binne waar die water draai. / (Previously named Geinab) Hollow in pans south of river where water turned.
Haagner: Vernoem na die bekende natuurfotograaf Clem Haagner wat die dorsland-landskap en sy lewensvorme oor baie jare verewig het. / Named after well known photographer Clem Haagner which took pictures of the area.
Houmoed: (Ook Deppo of Longcasing genoem)-Die boor van die gat was n toets in moed hou omdat daar baie dryfsand was wat bly inval het. Boortoetusting het die terrein later na n depot (“deppo”) laat lyk. Staalvoering (casing) het onder andere byna die probleem opgelos. Maar nadat die boorpunt geknak het, was die 2,5m voering wat nog bo uitgesteek het n lang tyd al geskeidenis van wat hier gebeur het.
Jan-se-Draai: Kortjan Matthys se draaipunt tydens sy jagtogte. / Turning point for Kortjan Matthys after his hunting expeditions.
Kafirspan: Swart driedoringstrate begrens die pan. / Black threethorns next to the pan.
Kameelsleep: Die Sandersons het die laaste rondtrekkende kameelperd hier geskiet en dit met donkies na die aangrensende Betsjoenaland (Botswana) gesleep. / Sandersons shot the last free roaming giraffe and with donkeys dragged it to Betsjoenaland.
Kamfersboom: Woonplek van boorgatwagter Kamfer. / Home of borehole watchman Kamfer.
Kaspersdraai: Kasper Sanderson se blyplek in tsammatyd. Hy het ook n puts hier gegrawe. / Kasper Sanderson’s home in Tsamma time, he also dug a pit here.
Kieliekrankie: Byna siek (waarskynlike betekenis) / Almost sick
Klein- en Groot-Skrijpanne: Baie tsamma, komkommer en suring het die landmeter se osse laat skittery. / Plenty Tsammas, cucumbers, sorrel gave the surveyor’s oxen the “shits”
Koedoebos: Swartbasbos wat n geliefde skuilplek is vir skaars koedoes wat die streek verken. / Swartbasbos which is a favourate place for the Kudu’s to hide.
Kraalpanne: Panne le asof hulle ingeryg is. / Pans seem to have been laced.
Kransbrak: Opvallende kalkreetkranse waar menige boksoort sy dors na soute les. / Conspicuous Limsestone where antelope quench their thirst for salts.
Langklaas: Langklaas Mattys (G’Hoerdap) se tydelike blyplek./ Lanklaas Matthys’s temporary home
Lekkerwater: (Geigami)- gat met min water maar tog so lekker. / Hole with little water but so nice.
Lijersdraai: Draai van die rivier lyk soos n babadoek wat toegespeld is. / Turning of the river looks like a babynappy which is folded.
Loffiesdraai: Vernoem na prof. Fritz Eloff, voormalige Raads-voorsitter. / Named after Prof. Fritz Eloff, former board member
Nelsiespan: Waar Hottentotsvrou Nelsie tsammas bymekaargemaak het. / Where Hottentotswife Nelsie collected tsammas.
Rolletjie: Vanaf hoe panduin rol duine soos branders die verte in. / From high pandune the dunes seems they are rolling like waves.
Rooikop: N uitstaande duinkop wat soos n baken dien. / Prominent highdune which acts as marker.
Rooiputs: N puts gegrawe in byna suiwer rooibaksteen (versteende sandsteen) / Hole which has been dug in almost pure red stone (Fossilized sandstone)
Samevloeing: Waar die Nossob-en Auobrivier ontmoet. / Where Nossob and Auob rivers meet.
Sewepanne: Beperkte gebied waarin sewe panne voorkom.
Stoffelsdraai: Een van die voormaligeParkhoof Stoffet le Riche se waterwys-suksesse. / One of the previous Park Managers successes in finding water.
Twee Rivieren: Plek waar die Auobrivier die Nossobrivier bereik. / Place where Auob river the Nossob river meets.
Vaalpan: Eintlik maar net n brakholt in rooi duine wat spog met lekker water. / Just a place where there is nice water in the red dunes.
Veertiende boorgat: 14de in n reeks boorgate wat in 1908 virUnie-troepe se deurtog geboor is./ 14th in a series of waterholes made in 1908.
Unie-end: (Union’s End, Werelds-end) noordelikste punt van die voormalige Kaapprovinsie-eindpunt van n vaderland. / most northern point of the old Cape province


Diverse name:

Ardlamont: Betekenis onbekend / Meaning unknown
Auchterlonie: auchter = highland=hoogland; uchdar (Wallies)=summit=top
Batulama: Stamp mekaar / Bump eachother
Cheleka: Betekenis onbekend. / Meaning Unknown
Copeng: Betekenis onbekend / Meaning Unknown
Craig Lockart: Rots van Lockhart (N persoonsnaam) / Persons name
Dalkeith: Dal=field;field in wood=dal in die bos
Driefendas: Betekenis onbekend / Meaning Unknown
Lammermoor: Betekenis onbekend / Meaning unknown
Montrose: Moss on the promontory=mos op die voorgebergte
St Johnsdam: Plek waar polisieman St Johns n bek-en-klou-kordonpos in die benedeloop van die Nossob beheer het.
Strathmore: Strath=valley, glen=vallei
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org

User avatar
Bush Baptist
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 6732
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain

Re: NAMES TELL A STORY.........

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:08 pm

Kgalagadi Guru wrote:Thirteenth and Fourteenth Borehole did not always carry these names. Originally, they were referred to as Grootskrij and Kleinskrij. The reason for the name change was the translation of the Afrikaans word “ skrij “ into English; it means diarrhoea. A traveller’s cattle suffered this fate after eating the tsama melons and drinking the water here, and the names served as a warning to those who followed

Thanks for all the info KG, certainly makes great reading...

Just a point about the highlighted bit. We are living in an age of less sensitivity now, so maybe 13 & 14 can get their original names back.

Let's start a campaign. Here is my vote.
Last edited by Bush Baptist on Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

User avatar
Pikasso
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 428
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:19 am
Location: Near Paris, France.

Re: NAMES TELL A STORY.........

Unread post by Pikasso » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:00 pm

Splendid KG !
I knew a few, but many were missing... now I can pretend I am an expert!

Can I suggest that you translate, for the foreigners like me, the Afrikkans names into English?
For exemple, you say that Bedinkt takes its name from "Because the Tsammas was finished, surveyor Jackson sat here and consider if he and his oxen should go on", but am I right assuming that Bedinkt means "to think" in Afrikaans (ok, I could check into a dictionary..)?
Same thing for Dikbaardskolk: does kolk means something? Maybe a forumer could do it too...


Probably this will make you laugh: It took me a few trips to realize that Dertiende and Vertiende were 13 and 14! I was always wondering how people knew it was the thirteens and fourteens waterholes (did they count them?)
Gone... Our pics here: http://www.wildlions.eu

User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Re: NAMES TELL A STORY.........

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:33 pm

The following I have taken from the book "Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park by Peter Derichs" Great book for newcomers to the park.

His interpretation of the names are as follow:

Houmoed;
Afrikaans - Hou=keep ; moed=courage

Monro:
Named by land surveyor Jackson, to remember a policeman called Munro, who was shot by German raiders.

Auchterlonie:
Old Irish - uachdar - summit ; loinn = joy, glade, area

Kamfersboom:
Afrikaans: boom - tree

Batulama:
Khoekhoen - Bump each other

Gemsbokplein:
Afrikaans - plein = square , open area

Montrose:
Irish - moin = mossy place : ros = promontory or wood

Kamqua:
Khoekhoen - Green Pothole

Rooibrak:
Afrikaans - rooi = red ; brak = salt lick, brackish spot

Urikaruus:
Khoekhoen - White calcareous rock

Sitzas:
Khoekhoen = Water with a bad taste (Shale)

Craig Lockhart:
Welsh - craig = rock

Dalkeith:
Welsh - dal = field

Rooiputs:
Afrikaans - rooi = red ; put = well

Leeudril:
Afrikaans - leeu = lion ; dril = tremble

Samevloeiing:
Afrikaans - Confluence; saam = together ; vloei = flow

Kij Kij:
Khoekhoen - big big

Jan se draai:
Afrikaans - draai = turn ; Kortjan = 'short' jan

Kransbrak:
Afrikaans - krans = cliff ; brak = salt lick; brackish spot

Gunong:
Khoekhoen - place of many devil's thorn

Dikbaardskolk:
Afrikaans - dikbaard = bushy beard ; colloquial = lion

Kameelsleep:
Afrikaans - kameel (perd) = giraffe ; sleep = drag

Marie se gat:
Afrikaans - gat = hole

Kaspersdraai:
Afrikaans - draai = turn

Lanklaas:
Afrikaans - lang = long ; Klaas = name of person

Bedinkt:
Afrikaans - bedinkt = reflect

Lijersdraai:
Afrikaans - luier = baby nappy

Vaalpan:
Afrikaans - vaal = drab, dun ; pan = pan

Morevet:
Afrikaans - more = tomorrow ; vet = fat

Kij Gamies:
Big lioness

Tier Kop:
Afrikaans - tier = leopard ; kop = head

If there is anything else you would like to know more about the park, please let me know and I will post it after doing some investigation, or if I do have the info on hand I will post ASAP.
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org

ladylucy
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:50 pm
Location: Bingham Nottinghamshire UK

Re: NAMES TELL A STORY.........

Unread post by ladylucy » Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:15 pm

Hi K G thanks for explaining the names, re Kieliekrankie I had assumed it was taken from the Scots. there is a famous pass in Scotland name Killicrankie, in 1689 the Scots beat the Brits at a famous battle holding the pass against an army sent by the King, William of Orange; he had come to England and ousted James the Second. Long story but the name is so unusual I wondered if the Scotsman who you mentioned had remembered his homeland and the battle.

User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Re: Kgalagadi Information Page

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:55 am

INTRODUCTION TO THE
KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK



INTRODUCTION TO THE AREA (SOUTH AFRICAN SIDE)



The term Kalahari was derived from the black tribe, the Kgalagadi, who used to inhabit this area.
Dr. Andrew Smith probably used the word, as we know it, for the first time in 1834.
The word Kgalagadi is a SeTswana word and the likeliest interpretation for this word would be “The land who dried up” or “The dry land” (Nussey 1993).

It is the largest continuous sand area in the world (Eloff, 1984).

The Kalahari is a large sand filled basin in the west of the southern African subcontinent, covering nearly one third of the area and forming what is probably the largest sand-veld area in the world (King 1963).
It stretches from 1ºS in Zaire to the Orange River in the south (29ºS) and from 14ºE in Angola to 28ºE in Zimbabwe (Leistner 1967).

The Southern Kalahari is defined as the area to the south of the Bakalahari Schwelle (first described by Passarge (1904), an indiscernible ridge from the ground that runs roughly from Gobabis (in Namibia) in the north-east to lobatse in the south-east of Botswana. The Schwelle separates the two drainage basins, the Okwa and Hanahai river system in the North and the Nossob, Auob, Molopo and Kuruman in the South.
The Southern Kalahari has a gentle southwesterly slope from the Schwelle. Both parks, out of which the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was formed, lay more than 900m above sea level, with the lowest point lying at Twee Rivieren and Two Rivers in the southwest.

Both the Nossob (meaning dark clay) and the Auob (meaning bitter water) rivers have their sources in the Anas Mountains near Windhoek, Namibia. They flow southeasterly joining in the former Kalahari Gemsbok Park 6Km north of Twee Rivieren and continue as the Nossob to the Molopo and Kuruman rivers 60Km to the south. The Molopo River with it’s origin near Mafikeng, no longer reaches the Orange River as sand dunes near Noeneput have blocked its course for at least the last 100 years.

These rivers are predominantly dry, only flowing for short periods after abnormal high rainfall. The Auob last flowed in 1973 and 1974, the Nossob in 1964. The Auob and Nossob rivers differ in that the Auob cuts a steep sided, narrow valley (100-500m wide) through the calcrete along its course through the former Kalahari Gemsbok Park.


While the Nossob flows in a shallow, sandy trough until it cuts through the calcrete near Kameelsleep windmill south of which it continues in a similar form to the Auob (Leistner and Werger 1973).
The Polentswa, a fossil river, joins the Nossob River near Grootbrak windmill.
The ancient river is now represented by a string of pans that run north to beyond the border of the former Gemsbok National Park.

The Kalahari sands, of which five groups are recognised, range in colour from red in the dunes through to yellow-brown on the pans and riverbeds (Leistner 1967; Van Rooyen 1984).
The sands are predominantly of Aeolian origin, emanating from within the basin itself. In the Southwest, the sands are piled into vegetated linear or self-dunes. The break down into a more gentle undulating terrain about 40Km east of the Nossob River (SANP & DW & NP-B: South African National Parks & Department of Wild life & National Parks-Botswana, 1997).
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org

User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Re: Kgalagadi Information Page

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:50 am

THE HISTORY OF THE AREA

Before the Park’s inception.


Of the first black tribes to penetrate the northern Kalahari were the Kgalagadi who lived in comparative peace with the San. They were eventually out but the name gave the area was to remain. (Kalahari is derived from the Kgalagadi work Makgadikgadi, meaning saltpans or the great thirstland). The first white people entering the area came to trade with the Kalahari people, usually paying for their goods with livestock.

In 1891, the Park area as well as the area to the southwest presently known as The Mier, was annexed to British Bechuanaland. Approximately ten years later, just across the border, the Hottentots rebelled against the German colonial rule in South West Africa (Present-day Namibia). Although well inside British territory, German troops had set up a station at Groot Kolk to transmit messages to South West Africa. An enormous camel thorn tree served as an ideal lookout post but despite the Hottentots, under leader Captain Dirk Filander, attacked at daybreak killing the Germans as they rose from their beds. Unfortunately, the tree, still bearing horseshoes, which the Germans nailed to the trunk as a ladder, burnt down in a large veldfire in 1976. After World War 1 was over, Scottish born Rodger “Malkop” Jackson surveyed the region and a theoretical subdivision was made into farms of 10 200 and 12 800 hectares. Jackson named many of the farms after landmarks in homeland Scotland, most of which are still in use today as boreholes in the Park. Several white farmers settled as borehole caretakers along the Auob River and they stayed rent-free as long as the boreholes were kept in good repair.

Additional farms were allocated to more white farmers along the Auob and along the Nossob River. However, this is a harsh environment and neither these farmers nor their coloured counterparts, to whom the land was eventually given, could make a comfortable living. If not for the tsama melons, an essential plant in this semi-arid ecosystem, which in dry times are the principle source of water, many would not have survived. Under very dry conditions, even the tsamas disappear and only animals that are well adapted to the harsh conditions survive.
They therefore took to hunting and they, and biltong hunters from further a field, gradually denuded the game.
Only in the more remote reaches of the upper Nossob River was the balance of nature maintained, for here the San lived in harmony with animals and plants.
If this remarkable eco-system was to survive a conservation plan of action had to come into play……

A short history of the Park

A short history would give some perspective on the sequence of events that relate to the history of the farms. It is necessary to briefly underline the historic events and dates leading up to the proclamation of the park (in 1931) and the events that happened after the Park’s proclamation. These events had bearing on time frames and may suggest the origins of the structures along the Auob River, artefacts and ruins in the Park.

Before White settlements, or exploitation, of the Area now included in the Park, the land was part of the San people’s domain for hunting and gathering food. During the 19th century, explorers discovered that the riverbeds of the Auob and Nossob were easier to follow by wagon, than trying to cross the sand dunes. For years, no government claimed the land and the San were the only people residing here. One of the last and oldest sources on the times relating to that era is Regopstaan Kruiper who died in 1996 at the age of 96. Eventually the land became attached to the Cape Colony. The government, from 1897, began to survey the land and subdividing it into farms for White settlers.

In 1904, the authorities in German South West Africa (Namibia) sent soldiers to blockade the water holes in the Nossob and force Khoikhoi rebels into submission. Unfortunately for them, at Grootkolk, an entire German patrol was slaughtered. The White settlers were slow to take advantage of the newly surveyed farms and the Cape Government decided to give them to Coloured (“Basters”) farmers instead. The farms had names like KoKo, Kameelsleep, Kaspers Draai en Kwang.

In 1884, the Germans occupied South West Africa and it was during these years that Stoffel (Christoffel) le Riche first ventured into the Kalahari. In 1899, he and his wife Martie moved from Rietfontein, just south of the existing Park. In 1899 there first son Johannes and in 1904 their second son Joseph (Later known as Joep) was born.

With the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914, the (Union of) South Africa (n) Government drilled a series of boreholes along the Auob to provide their troops with water in case South Africa wanted to use corridor to invade South West Africa. Guards were recruited mainly from the local community and hired to protect and maintain the boreholes. They were permitted to settle next to the holes with their families and livestock. It was expected that they would live of the veld (with dire consequences to the environment). Because of lack of firewood and appropriate clay
To make bricks they erected timber frame structures as dwellings and stock shelters. Dwellings that are more permanent were erected with the locally abundant calcrete stone. None of the timber frame shelters were recorded and nothing remained. The only evidence of these times are the calcrete walls of circular cattle kraals, the foundations of square and rectangular huts and some larger multi roomed dwellings.

This corridor was never used to invade South West Africa and the borehole guards stayed on, largely forgotten by the authorities. Instead, the Government appointed a Scottish land surveyor Rodger “Malkop” Duke Jackson to survey the area and divide it into farms. About this time, six farms were purchased by the South African Government, but were not occupied before the Government decided that Coloured people should rather settle the region. The British Government, then already in control of Bechuanaland, had already settled Coulred people on the east bank of the Nossob between Rooiputs and its confluence with the Auob River (the ruins of an old dwelling is still located at Rooiputs).

Biltong hunters penetrated the area and by the late 1920s, several species were in danger of becoming extinct. Two conservationists invited the then Minister of Lands, Piet Grobler to inspect the region. Grobler piloted the National Parks Act through parliament and played a major role in the proclamation of Kruger National Park in 1926. By 1931, Piet Grobler had decided to proclaim the area between the Nossob River and the Auob River and the SWA Border a national park. Land was purchased south of the Park to resettle “Coloured” people and the borehole structures were abandoned. All but a few farms that had been sold by the Government were brought back and the Park was finally proclaimed in 1931.

Johannes le Riche (the son of a local trader Christoffel, Francois, Albertyn Le Riche), the first warden of the Park (and his family), settled at Gemsbok Plain (later referred to as Gemsbok plein) in a house, which had been abandoned by a borehole guard. From this point, onwards Le Riche and his assistant Gert Januarie became involved in the protection of wildlife in the area. For three years, they patrolled the Park on horseback. In 1934, the park experienced an exceptional rainy season and both the Nossob and Auob came down in flood. This was followed by an epidemic of malaria and both Le Riche and Januarie died of this illness. A few days later after their death Le Riche’s brother Joep was appointed ranger in his place.

In 1935, a row of farms along the southern bank of the Auob River was purchased by the Union Government to ensure that both banks of the river would have national conservation protection. Twee Rivieren was also bought to include the confluence of the rivers into the Park. The resulting jagged boundary was straightened through “give-and-take” between the Government and neighbouring farmers.

In 1935, a corrugated iron house was built for the Warden at Samevloeiing and shortly afterwards a brick house built at Twee Rivieren. Joep le Riche who was supposed to be appointed temporarily eventually stayed in the post for 36 years. He and his assistant Gert Mouton re-commissioned the old boreholes in the riverbeds in order to “persuade” the animals to remain in the Park instead of leaving the unfenced boundaries where they were poached and killed.

In 1938 the British Government proclaimed a new game reserve across the Nossob in what is today Botswana. Joep le Riche was put in charge. During World War 11

Poachers were short of bullets and game numbers increased dramatically. After the War, game fences were erected along the Park’s western and southern boundaries. The eastern boundary remained unfenced leaving this border open to animals that needed to migrate from east to west. From the 1950s, more emphasis was put in 1940 near the confluence of the Nossob and Auob.

The Botswana Gemsbok National Park was proclaimed in 1938 by what was then called Bechuanaland. Mabuasehube Game Reserve was added in 1971 and was incorporated into Gembok National Park in 1992.
Head: Field Guiding
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
jan.kriel@sanparks.org

User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Re: Kgalagadi Information Page

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:56 pm

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

User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Re: Kgalagadi Information Page

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:21 am

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

User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Re: Kgalagadi Information Page

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:03 am

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

User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Re: Kgalagadi Information Page

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:05 am

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

User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Re: Kgalagadi Information Page

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:09 am

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

User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Re: Kgalagadi Information Page

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:55 pm

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

User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Re: Kgalagadi Information Page

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:13 am

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

User avatar
Kgalagadi Guru
Guru
Guru
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:18 pm
Location: Twee Rivieren, KTP

Re: Kgalagadi Information Page

Unread post by Kgalagadi Guru » Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:47 am

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


Return to “Arid Parks”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


Webcam Highlights

Addo
Submitted by Nosey1810 at 12:31:21
orpen
Submitted by mirwin at 15:18:29
satara
Submitted by vecopoer67 at 18:27:41
nossob
Submitted by vacation at 18:22:33