Kaokoland Trees: Kunene River

Kunene River: The Kunene river is on the border with Angola, forms the northern boundary of Kaokoland and is also the only perennial river in the northwest of Namibia. The riparian vegetation and abundance of water provide a real linear oasis through an otherwise arid and harsh landscape.

Trees and shrubs typical of the Kunene River and its environs are the makalani palm Hyphaene petersiana, mustard bush Salvadora persica, potato-bush Phyllanthus reticulatus, ana tree Faidherbia albida, Baobab Adansonia digitata, sycamore fig Ficus sycomorus, sandpaper fig F. capreifolia, mopane Colophospermum mopane ,  wild tamarisk Tamarix usneoides, river mimosa Mimosa pigra and reeds on the islands and verges of the river.

Baobab - Copyright Wessel Swannepoel

Baobab – Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

Less common are water-pear Syzygium guineense, safsaf willow salix mucronata subsp. mucronata and river rhus, Searsia quartiniana.

Between Ruacana and Swartbooisdrif the jackal-berry Diospyros mespiliformis provides food for humans as well as for monkeys and fruit-eating birds and bats.

Away from the river on the valley floor and adjacent mountain slopes, mopane Colophospermum mopane and various species of Commiphora occur, such as slender corkwood Commiphora virgata, Kunene corkwood C. kuneneana, purple-stem corkwood C. multijuga, satin-bark corkwood C. tenuipetiolata as well as Kaoko ceraria Ceraria  longipedunculata, and spike-flowered black-thorn Acacia mellifera subsp. mellifera.

Spike-flowered black Thorn - Copyright Wessel Swannepoel

Spike-flowered black Thorn – Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

Cunene corkwood - Copyright Wessel Swannepoel

Cunene corkwood – Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

Cunene corkwood - Copyright Wessel Swannepoel

Cunene corkwood – Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

Purple-stem corkwood - Copyright Wessel Swannepoel

Purple-stem corkwood – Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

Slender corkwood - Copyright Wessel Swannepoel

Slender corkwood – Copyright Wessel Swannepoel

Slender corkwood - Copyright Wessel Swannepoel

Slender corkwood – Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

Mopane Woodland - Copyright Wessel Swannepoel

Mopane Woodland – Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

Various shrubs are also found here, for instance Euphorbia subsalsa, candelabra euphorbia Euphorbia virosa, Bushman poison Adenium boehmianum, Kaoko rhigozum Rhigozum virgatum and Kaoko hoodia Hoodia parviflora, variable petalidium Petalidium variabile and the attractive red-flowered Ruacana petalidium Petalidium bracteatum.

Bohemian Poison - Copyright Wessel Swannepoel

Bohemian Poison – Copyright Wessel Swanepoel

All information provided by Wessel Swanepoel.

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