Veld ( // or // ), also spelled veldt, is a type of wide open rural landscape in Southern Africa. Particularly, it is a flat area covered in grass or low scrub, especially in the countries of South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana. A certain sub-tropical woodland ecoregion of Southern Africa has been officially defined as the Bushveld by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Trees are not abundant—frost, fire and grazing animals allow grass to grow but prevent the build up of dense foliage.
The word veld (Afrikaans pronunciation: [fɛlt] ) comes from the Afrikaans word for "field".
The etymological origin is older modern Dutch veldt, a spelling that the Dutch abandoned in favour of veld during the 19th century,decades before the first Afrikaans dictionary. A cognate to the English field, it was spelt velt in Middle Dutch and felt in Old Dutch.
The climate of the veld is highly variable, but its general pattern is mild winters from May to September and hot or very hot summers from November to March, with moderate or considerable variations in daily temperatures and abundant sunshine. Precipitation mostly occurs in the summer months in the form of high-energy thunderstorms.
Over most of the South African Highveld, the average annual rainfall is between 500–900 millimetres (20–35 in) a year, decreasing to about 250 millimetres (9.8 in) near the western border and increasing to nearly 1,000 millimetres (39 in) in some parts of the Lesotho Highlands; the South African Lowveld generally receives more precipitation than the Highveld. Temperature is closely related to elevation. In general, the mean July (winter) temperatures range between 7 °C (45 °F) in the Lesotho Highlands and 16 °C (61 °F) in the Lowveld. January (summer) temperatures range between 18 °C (64 °F) and 30 °C (86 °F).
In Zimbabwe the precipitation averages around 750–900 millimetres (30–35 in) on the Highveld, dropping to less than 350 millimetres (14 in) in the lowest areas of the Lowveld. Temperatures are slightly higher than in South Africa.
Over the entire veld, seasonal and annual average rainfall variations of up to 40 percent are common. Damaging drought affects at least half the area about once every three or four years; it reduces plant and animal biomass to sustainable levels again. Everywhere the average number of hours of annual sunshine varies from 60 to 80 percent of the total amount possible.
Veld can be loosely compared to the Australian terms outback or "the bush", to the prairie of North America, to the pampas lowlands of South America, or to the steppe of Central Asia. Someone from Yorkshire might equate "wandering across the moors" to "walking through the veld."[ citation needed ]
By extension, the veld can be compared to the "boondocks" or those places "beyond the black stump" in Australia. There is a sense in which it refers in essence to unimproved land (and is therefore not the equivalent of the English paddock) and does not include areas used both for pastoral activities and the planting of crops. These areas are referred to as fields. The word is less appropriate for land that is heavily forested, mountainous, or urban. The simplest explanation will be to say the word "veld" means "natural vegetation"; excluding vegetation like swamps and forests. It does include mountains with vegetation but not deserts or mountains without natural vegetation.
The veld definition may encompass different natural environments, both humid and dry, such as Coastal plain, Coastal prairie, Flooded grasslands and savannas, Grassland, Prairie, Savanna, Steppe, Meadow, Water-meadow, Flood-meadow, Wet meadow, as well as agricultural fields. Whereas mountainous peaks and thick forests do not really fit in with the term veld, bushes are acceptable. The area then becomes Bushveld (Afrikaans : Bosveld), a term that is used mainly to describe "The Bushveld", which is both a loose botanical classification and a specific geographical part of what used to be known as the Transvaal, as described for example in the story Jock of the Bushveld.
Much of the interior of Southern Africa consists of a high plateau, the higher portions 1,500–2,100 m (4,900–6,900 ft) of which are known as the Highveld , starting at the Drakensberg escarpment, 220 km (140 mi) to the east of Johannesburg and sloping gradually downwards to the west and south west, as well as to the north, through the Bushveld towards the Limpopo river. These higher, cooler areas (generally more than 1,500 metres or 4,900 feet above sea level) are characterised by flat or gently undulating terrain, vast grasslands and a modified tropical or subtropical climate. To the east, the Highveld's border is marked by the Great Escarpment, or the Mpumalanga Drakensberg, but in the other directions the boundary is not obvious and often arbitrary. The blesbok and quagga were among the large animals that once roamed on the highveld in great numbers. Nowadays there still is a sizeable population of springbok in some areas, though much of the area is devoted to commercial farming and South Africa's largest conurbation (Gauteng Province).
The lowlands, below about 500 m (1,640 ft) altitude, along South Africa's northern border with Botswana and Zimbabwe, where a 180-million-year-old failed rift valley cuts into Southern Africa's central plateau and locally obliterates the Great Escarpment, is known as the Lowveld. The Limpopo and Save rivers run from the central African highlands via the Lowveld into the Indian Ocean to the east. The Limpopo Lowveld extends southwards, east of the Drakensberg escarpment through Mpumalanga Province and ultimately into eastern Eswatini. This southern limb of the Lowveld is bounded by South Africa's border with Mozambique to the east and the north-eastern part of the Drakensberg to the west. This region is generally hotter and less intensely cultivated than the Highveld.
Thornveld (also thorn veld or thornveldt), often referred to as "acacia thornveld", is a type of semi-arid savanna in which grassland with thorny acacia and certain species of thorny bushes predominate. The predominant plant species are usually different in the thornveld of the plains or in the hill thornveld, where, for example, species of genus Balanites are common.Some of the characteristic species in the thornveld include:
Sandveld, in the general sense of the word, is a type of veld characterised by dry, sandy soil, typical of certain areas of the Southern African region. It usually absorbs all water from the seasonal rains, although aquatic habitats, largely seasonal, may be also found in specific places in the sandveld.Only certain hardy plant species thrive in the sandveld environment. These consist especially of grasses forming clumps and certain kinds of trees and shrubs. The sandveld vegetation has a particular pattern of growth, rarely covering the whole terrain and thus leaving patches of sandy soil exposed on the surface. Some of the typical sandveld species are Acacia haematoxylon , A. luederitzii , Boscia albitrunca , Terminalia sericea , Lonchocarpus nelsii , Bauhinia petersiana and Baphia massaiensis .
Hardveld is a term applied to certain areas of rocky soils in Botswana, located mostly in the eastern part of the country. The landscape is an undulating plain with scattered rocky hill ranges. There are areas of hardveld also in South Africa in the mountainous central Kamiesberg of the Northern Cape with hilly escarpments and deep river valleys. The soil of the hardveld is characterised by rocky outcrops, as well as an abundance of stones and pebbles of different shapes and sizes.
The flora of the hardveld is typical of rocky savanna, with denser vegetation and thus less denuded patches than in the sandveld, as well as taller trees.There is also a higher diversity of species in the hardveld compared with the sandveld. Peltophorum africanum , Acacia nigrescens , A. tortilis , Combretum apiculatum and Colophospermum mopane are some of the representative species of the northern hardveld.
The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid sandy savannah in Southern Africa extending for 900,000 square kilometres (350,000 sq mi), covering much of Botswana, and parts of Namibia and South Africa.
South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa, its coastline stretching more than 2,850 kilometres from the desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic (western) coast southwards around the tip of Africa and then northeast to the border with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean. The low-lying coastal zone is narrow for much of that distance, soon giving way to a mountainous escarpment that separates the coast from the high inland plateau. In some places, notably the province of KwaZulu-Natal in the east, a greater distance separates the coast from the escarpment. Although much of the country is classified as semi-arid, it has considerable variation in climate as well as topography. The total land area is 1,220,813 km2 (471,359 sq mi). It has the 23rd largest Exclusive Economic Zone of 1,535,538 km2 (592,875 sq mi).
The Drakensberg is the eastern portion of the Great Escarpment, which encloses the central Southern African plateau. The Great Escarpment reaches its greatest elevation – 2,000 to 3,482 metres within the border region of South Africa and Lesotho.
The Afrotropical realm is one of Earth's eight biogeographic realms. It includes Africa south of the Sahara Desert, the majority of the Arabian Peninsula, the island of Madagascar, southern Iran and extreme southwestern Pakistan, and the islands of the western Indian Ocean. It was formerly known as the Ethiopian Zone or Ethiopian Region.
Mpumalanga is a province of South Africa. The name means "east", or literally "the place where the sun rises" in the Swazi, Xhosa, Ndebele and Zulu languages. Mpumalanga lies in eastern South Africa, bordering Eswatini and Mozambique. It constitutes 6.5% of South Africa's land area. It shares borders with the South African provinces of Limpopo to the north, Gauteng to the west, the Free State to the southwest, and KwaZulu-Natal to the south. The capital is Mbombela.
The Highveld is the portion of the South African inland plateau which has an altitude above roughly 1500 m, but below 2100 m, thus excluding the Lesotho mountain regions to the south-east of the Highveld. It is home to some of the country's most important commercial farming areas, as well as its largest concentration of metropolitan centres, especially the Gauteng conurbation, which accommodates one-third of South Africa's population.
The Bushveld is a sub-tropical woodland ecoregion of Southern Africa. It encompasses most of Limpopo Province and a small part of the North West Province of South Africa, the Central and North-East Districts of Botswana and the Matabeleland South and part of the Matabeleland North provinces of Zimbabwe. Kruger National Park in South Africa has a number of 'Bushveld' camps. The terms 'bushveld' and 'lowveld' are sometimes used interchangeably, and the line between the two is somewhat blurred, although the lowveld lies in Mpumalanga.
The Afromontane regions are subregions of the Afrotropical realm, one of the Earth's eight biogeographic realms, covering the plant and animal species found in the mountains of Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula. The Afromontane regions of Africa are discontinuous, separated from each other by lower-lying areas, and are sometimes referred to as the Afromontane archipelago, as their distribution is analogous to a series of sky islands.
The wildlife of Botswana refers to the flora and fauna of Botswana. Botswana is around 90% covered in savanna, varying from shrub savanna in the southwest in the dry areas to tree savanna consisting of trees and grass in the wetter areas. Even under the hot conditions of the Kalahari Desert, many different species survive; in fact the country has more than 2500 species of plants and 650 species of trees. Vegetation and its wild fruits are also extremely important to rural populations living in the desert and are the principal source of food, fuel and medicine for many inhabitants.
The Sneeuberge or Sneeuberg mountain range was historically known as “Sneeuwbergen”, meaning ‘snow mountains’ in Cape Dutch, and refers to a significant portion of Southern Africa's Great Escarpment in the Cradock, Murraysburg, Richmond, Graaff-Reinet, Nieu-Bethesda and Middelburg districts of the Great Karoo, most of which are in the Eastern Cape Province.
The wildlife of South Africa consists of the flora and fauna of this country in southern Africa. The country has a range of different habitat types and an ecologically rich and diverse wildlife, vascular plants being particularly abundant, many of them endemic to the country. There are few forested areas, much savanna grassland, semi-arid Karoo vegetation and the fynbos of the Cape Floristic Region. Famed for its national parks and big game, 297 species of mammal have been recorded in South Africa, as well as 858 species of bird and over 20,000 species of vascular plants.
Kalahari Acacia-Baikiaea woodlands is an ecoregion located in Botswana, northern Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is situated in the Drakensberg escarpment region of eastern Mpumalanga, South Africa. The reserve protects the Blyde River Canyon, including sections of the Ohrigstad and Blyde Rivers and the geological formations around Bourke's Luck Potholes, where the Treur River tumbles into the Blyde below. Southwards of the canyon, the reserve follows the escarpment, to include the Devil's and God's Window, the latter a popular viewpoint to the lowveld at the reserve's southern extremity.
The Zambezian and mopane woodlands is a tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands ecoregion of southeastern Africa.
Mariepskop, at 1,947 m above sea level, is one of the highest peaks in the northern Drakensberg, and the highest point of the Blyde River Canyon, South Africa. It is situated at the junction of three conservation areas, namely the Mariepskop Forest Reserve, Mariepskop State Forest, and the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. The mountain is bordered by sheer cliff faces on several sides, and is composed of Proterozoic sedimentary rocks of the Transvaal Supergroup. It is named for the 19th century Pulana chief, Maripe Mashile, whose tribe used the mountain as a stronghold. Some infrastructure and roads were built in the 1950s to service a military radar station. Mariepskop is flanked by Tshwateng (1,628 m) at the opposite side of the Blyde River, and by Hebronberg (1,767 m) in the south.
The Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve is located in South Africa between the cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg to the east and Rustenburg to the west. The reserve lies at the interface of two great African biomes — the Central Grassland Plateaux and the sub-Saharan savannah — and the remnants of a third biome, the Afro‐montane forest. The rich biodiversity includes floral species such as Aloe peglerae and Frithia pulchra, and faunal species such as the forest shrew, sable antelope and 443 bird species representing 46.6% of total bird species in the southern African sub-region.
The Zambezian region is a large biogeographical region in Africa. The Zambezian region includes woodlands, savannas, grasslands, and thickets, extending from east to west in a broad belt across the continent. The Zambezian region lies south of the rainforests of the Guineo-Congolian region. The Zambezian region is bounded by deserts and xeric shrublands on the southwest, the Highveld grasslands of South Africa to the south, and the subtropical Maputaland forests on the southeast.
|Look up veld in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|