Linking Geology And Wildlife Water Supply In The Hwange National Park, Kalahari Basin

Most of the 14 651 km2 Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is on monotonous Aeolian sands of the Kalahari Basin, with endorheic drainage. The large game populations of the park are sustained by seasonal accumulations of water in grassy pan depressions and year-round supply of groundwater to pans (except in the northwest where there are rivers and dams). Some of this is from natural seeps, such as at the Shakwanki, Nehimba and Ngweshla Pans, but most are supplied from boreholes. Game animals show clear preferences for some pans over others and it has long been speculated by wildlife managers that there is a nutritional or taste basis for this discrimination. In this preliminary study, the location, host geology and sub-Kalahari lithologies of the pans are compared with the frequency of use by game animals. Results show that the pans that are most frequented by game are hosted in fossil drainage channels, with limestone horizons (calcrete) developed within the Kalahari Sands. Many popular pans are also found on Kalahari Sand overlying the granitic rocks and the meta- sedimentary Malaputese Formation of the Kamativi–Dete Inlier. This can be related to sodium and potassium enrichment.

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The Hwange National Park, Kalahari Basin, Zimbabwe
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