Geology and Soils

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The scheme lies along the South African and Namibian banks of the Orange River. The area is generally characterised by extensive mountains, hills and rock outcrops, and severely dissected terrain resulting from run-off rainwater.

In some parts, hills and/or mountains separate the plain from the river. Nonetheless, there also are some relatively flat or gently sloping areas in scattered locations. The soils are covered with gravel and stones on the surface, as well as within the calcareous soil profiles. These soils have high pH values, high sand content, low fertility, low moisture-holding capacity and high infiltration rates, and are subject to wind erosion.

The vegetation is classified as Desert and Succulent Steppe. Vegetation is very sparse and is mostly limited to depressions and watercourses where run-off water collects. The dominant species are xerophytes, which have a very high degree of drought tolerance. The vegetation intensity is so low that it has practically no potential for domestic animal grazing. The Orange River banks support a riverine forest vegetation composed mainly of Tamarix usneoides (tamarisk) and Euclea pseudebenus (false ebony).

A number of aquatic plants thrive in the river.


Tamarix usneoides (tamarisk)
Euclea pseudebenus (false ebony)
Tamarix usneoides