Included here is the area named after the Nama (the plural being Namaqua), which is the name of the Khoikhoi people that lived here at the time of the first white settlement. It forms a narrow deeply dissected escarpment of inland Namibia that gradually widens in a southerly direction to eventually develop into an extensive plateau south of Windhoek. The Orange River divides the region into Great Namaqualand (in Namibia) and Little Namaqualand (in the Northern Cape). The southern border extends for a few kilometres south of the Orange River and stretches between Vioolsdrif in the west to Upington in the east. To the west of the town of Windhoek it includes the Hochland Plateau that varies from rugged in the north (with broad valleys and inselbergs) to a flat and stony plateau dissected by deep valleys in the south. Also included is the Brandberg one of Namibia’s highest mountains while other mountains such as the Baynes, Erongo, Naukluft, Spitzkoppe and the Gamsberg lie along the escarpment edge.

Namalandian Ziziphus-Euclea Riverine Woodland

On the main tributaries of the Orange River where flooding and deposition of alluvial sediment is fairly frequent rich riverine forests have developed dominated by Ziziphus mucronata and endemic or near endemic Euclea pseudebenus (Ebenaceae) although much has now been cleared. Three forest layers can be distinguished. The tree layer reaches about 9 m in height and in addition to the Euclea pseudebenus and Ziziphus mucronata includes Acacia karroo, Maytenus linearis, Rhus viminalis and the endemic or near endemic Tamarix usneoides (Tamaricaceae). However, the canopy can be very open and rarely provides more than about 70% cover. Common shrub layer species, which range in height from 1-3 m, include Diospyros lycioides, Ehretia rigida, Lycium austrinum and Maerua gilgii. In the undergrowth Asparagus laricinus, Setaria verticillata and the endemic or near endemic Zygophyllum microcarpum (Zygophyllaceae) often occur. Other species found in these relatively species-rich woodlands include Atriplex semibaccata, Chenopodium olukondae, C. schraderanum, Loranthus olaeoides, Mesembryanthemum magniflorus, Pollichia campestris and the endemic or near endemic Euclea undulata var. myrtina (Ebenaceae).

Namalandian Lycium prunus-spinosa-Lycium austrinum Riverine Shrubland

Fine sand and silt deposits cover large riverside areas of the Orange River but the moisture levels away from the river are insufficient for tree development. Instead riverine shrublands have developed dominated by Lycium austrinum and the endemic or near endemic Lycium prunus-spinosa (Solanaceae). Most of the shrubs range in size from 1-1.5 m but emergents of Lycium austrinum can reach 3 m. The undergrowth is very sparse rarely exceeding more than about 10% land cover. Characteristic species include Tribulus terrestris and the endemic or near endemic Trianthema triquetra subsp. parviflora (Aizoaceae) and various endemic or near endemic grasses such as Eragrostis annulata, E. echinochloidea, E. porosa and Schmidtia kalahariensis (Poaceae).

Namalandian Cyperus-Cenchrus Semi-Wetland Formation

In large low-lying drainage area of the Orange River catchment where water remains for extended periods, robust tussocks of Cyperus marginatus and Cenchrus ciliaris can be found. The substrate consists of fine, loamy sand. Shrubs such as Lycium austrinum, Maytenus linearis, Rhus viminale and Ziziphus mucronata may also occur together with the small endemic or near endemic tree Euclea pseudebenus (Ebenaceae). Other species may include Diascia engleri, Dimorphotheca pluvialis, Geigeria ornativa, Giesekia africana, Hyperthelis salsoloides, Psilocaulon absimile, Vahlia capensis and the endemic or near endemic Aptosimum leucorrhizum (Scrophulariaceae), Berkheya spinossissima var. namaensis (Asteraceae), Blumea gariepina (Asteraceae), Galenia secunda (Aizoaceae), Sutera tomentosa (Scrophulariaceae) and Thesium laniculatum (Santalaceae).


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