Agriculture & Plantlife
The dominant soil in our area is Eutric Regosols. Eutric explain the properties of the soil that is fertile soils with high base saturation. The soil group name, Regosols, reflects the conditions or processes that led to the soil’s formation. Regosols are medium- or fine-textured soils of actively eroding landscapes, the thin layers lying directly above the rock surfaces from which they formed. These soils never reach depths of more than 50 cm. The Grünau areas (like most of the central regions of Namibia) are especially susceptible to erosion where there is any degree of slope. Vegetation cover on these thin soils is generally sparse because they cannot provide most plants with sufficient water or nutrients. Therefore our area can only support low-density stock farming or wildlife.

Earlier years you could see the karakul sheep in the veld, known as the black diamond of the south. Swakara is a well-known name for the fashionable garments that are made in Namibia and overseas from the pelts of the karakul lamb. The wool of the sheep is used for weaving carpets into unusual design and colours.

For economic reasons some of the farmers still have a few karakul sheep. Most of the karakulsheep were replaced by dorper sheep that made us well known for our lamb meat. Where you first had the karakul sheep for its pelts you nowadays have the dorper for its meat.

In Grünau we talk about February and March as the time for the “big rain”. Rain before (or even during winter) is a big surprise and a bonus. Our rainfall is between a 100 mm and 150 mm. Good years are seldom and making a living out of farming is hard. Therefore the farming population are getting fewer and fewer and you will find that every farmer has another type of income – mostly in the tourism sector. We try to catch every passer by to show them our hospitality, biltong, craft etc.

As you have seen our rains are unpredictable. Our plants and animals have evolved tactics to survive and even thrive in this climate. One strategy is to concentrate growth and reproduction in periods of good rains. Thus, plant growth often varies a great deal from month to month depending on the amount and distribution of rainfall. This has huge implications for humans, livestock and all other animals that depend upon plant production. You will get a nice surprise to see our flowers in winter when we had a bit of rain! Another tactic used by many animals is to move to areas where rains have fallen recently. The fences restrict a lot of the animals – but you will often see roadsigns that show you to be careful for kudus. The ordinary fences for the sheep do not stop them to go after the better pastures.

You can say we are part of the Karas Dwarf Shrubland in the Nama Karoo biome (biome - useful way of distinguishing areas that share broadly similar plant life and climatic features). Here are a varied assemblage of plant communities, ranging from decidius shrub vegetation to perennial grasslands and succulent shrubs. Especially around Grünau dwarf shrubs and grasslands dominate. Large quiver trees you will see more in the rocky parts and Karas Mountains near Grünau. In June- July they have beautiful yellow flowers. The camelthorntrees grow in the sandy riverbeds and their “peule” are good grazing for the animals. Plant diversity is low.

There is definitely a correlation between our low rainfall, arid climate, and the diversity of our plants and animals. We have a low density of birds, frogs, mammals, reptiles,scorpions etc. – on our grasslands around Grünau fewer than in the Karas Mountains. No fish! On the farms around Grünau you will mostly find springbok and gemsbok. The sheep farmers biggest enemy are “two” and four-legged jackal.

 

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