Kumana Sandveld Gertenbach Landscape 14 Location Kruger National Park
Kumana Sandveld … Location and Geomorphology
This landscape lies between the Nwaswitsontso and Swenispruits, east of the main tourist road to the north. It is a relatively small landscape that occupies approximately 164 mk/2 or 0.8 percent of the KNP. Coetzee (1983) describes this landscape under the name “Tropical Semi-arid Lowveld on Karoo Sediment Anticline”. Venter (1981) refers to an Ecca – Red Bed – Cave Sandstone – Ecca – Cave Sandstone – Anticline in the vicinity of the Sweni spruit and it is also possibly the case in this landscape. Coetzee(1983) claims that the surrounding basalt in this landscape degraded to expose the Karoo sediment anticline. This is a lightly undulating landscape that is drained by the tributaries of the Sweni, namely the Marheya, Mrunzuluku and the Guweni spruits. Drainage to the Nwaswitsontso is very limited. This landscape is high lying in comparison to the surrounding basalt and the altitude varies between 260 – 360 metres above sea level.
According to Gertenbach (1980) the rainfall in this landscape is approximately 550 to 600 mm per annum. Temperatures are probably the same as that of the Satara as shown in Table 3. The landscape is slightly undulating and very little difference can be expected in the micro-climate due to the topography.
Coetzee (1983) distinguishes nine different habitats in this landscape. The soils vary accordingly from lithosols on sandstone outcrops, shallow sandy soils, deep sandy soils, clayey soils and sodium rich brackish soils. The soil Forms concerned are Mispah and Glenrosa, with between 13 and 15 percent clay in their A-horizons (Coetzee 1983). Deeper Glenrosa and Clovelly soils occur on sandstone, while Swartland soils occur on associated dolerite intrusions. On the shales and finer sandstone, duplex soils occur of which Escourt and Sterkspruit are the most important.
The sandstone koppies are relatively rich in woody plants and according to Coetzee (1983) the following species are common: Ficus soldanella, Ximenia americana, Thilachium africana, Albizia forbesii, A. harveyi, Acacia welwitschii, Dichrostachys cinerea subsp.africana var.pubescens, Schotia brachypetala, Cassia abbreviate, Peltophorum africanum, Erythroxylum emarginatum, Phyllanthus reticulates, Bridelia cathartica, Spirostachys africana, Lannea stuhlmannii, Maytenus heterophylla, Hippocratea longipetiolata, Pappea capensis, Grewia bicolor, G. flavescens, Combretum apiculatum, Manilkara mochisia, Euclea natalensis, E. undulate and Diospyros mespiliformis.
The field layer consists of the following species: Heteropogon contortus, Digitaria eriantha var. pentzii, Panicum maximum, Rhynchelytrum repens, Enteropogon macrostachyus, Pogonarthria squarrosa, Sansevieria hyacinthoides, Asparagus falcatus, A. minutiflorus and Sarcostemma viminale. The deep sandy soils carry a vegetation with a moderate to dense low shrub layer, a sparse tall shrub layer and a tree layer that is sparse to completely absent (Fig. 32). Dominant woody species are Balanites maughamii, Grewia bicolor, Cassia abbreviate, Acacia tortilis, Peltophorum africanum, Combretum apiculatum, Dichrostachys cinerea subsp. africana, Grewia monticola, G. flavescens, Acacia nigrescens, Sclerocarya caffra, Lannea stuhlmannii, Combretum hereroense, Albizia harveyi and Ziziphus mucronata. The field layer is dominated by Schmidtia papophoroides, Digitaria eriantha, Pogonarthria squarrosa, Sporobolus fimbriatus, Panicum maximum, Urochloa mosambicensis and Eragrostis rigidior.
Where dolerite instrusions are present in the landscape, the soil is clayey and the vegetation changes to a moderate shrubveld with a dense grass cover. Woody species such as Acacia tortilis, Grewia bicolor, Acacia nigrescens, Maytenus senegalensis, and Combretum hereroense are present. The field layer is dominated by Bothriochloa radicans, Themeda triandra, Heteropogon contortus and Eragrostis superba.
Sodium-saturated soils occur where the shales appear on the surface because of the anticline. On these soils Acacia welwitschii thickets, similar to that described for Landscape 13, are present.
Elephant breeding herds prefer the Kumana Sandveld because it is relatively dense and provides shelter for the animals. Browsers such as kudu, giraffe and impala are commonly found, while white rhino are regularly encountered. Wildebeest and zebra are less common but warthog are plentiful. Carnivores such as lion and leopard are present and waterbuck can be seen near permanent water.