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Home The River Basin People and the River Governance Resource Management
The Limpopo River Basin
 Introduction
Geography
 Basin Landscape
Geomorphology
 Relief
 Geology
 Soils
 Mineral Reserves
 Vegetation in the Basin
 Land Cover
 Basins of Southern Africa
 River Basin and IWRM
Climate and Weather
Hydrology
Water Quality
Ecology and Biodiversity
Sub-basin Summaries
 References

 



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Geomorphology  

Geomorphology is the study of the origins of landscape as it is seen today and is considered to be the science dealing with the relief of the earth and the drivers that create this relief, such as geology and soils.   It is a combination of geology, physics, chemistry, biology and history, resulting in the evolution of complex geographic and topographic environments (Anderson 2008).

Many drivers impact on the geomorphology of a river basin and this part of the Geography Chapter provides a brief overview of the key drivers.

Basin Geomorphology

The geomorphology of the Limpopo River basin is described in terms of:

The Great Escarpment at Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.
Source: Salvatori 2009
( click to enlarge )

The valley of the Limpopo River basin separates the plateau areas of Zimbabwe and South Africa (also known as the Cape-Transvaal Highveld), to the north and south, and is bounded by the Kalahari basin in the west (FAO 2004; Bridges 1990). These features are illustrated in the map below (left).

The region is transected by the Great Escarpment, a feature that extends from the western edge of the Namibia and Angola plateaux, right around South Africa and north to the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe (Bridges 1990).  This feature varies in height, reaching its maximum in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa at approximately 3 299 m above sea level (Bridges 1990).  This feature is illustrated in the map below (right).

Geomorphological Provinces of southern Africa.
Source: After Bridges 1990
( click to enlarge )
The Great Escarpment of southern Africa.
Source: after Bridges 1990
( click to enlarge )

 



Interactive

Explore the sub-basins of the Limpopo River


Explore the interactions of living organisms in aquatic environments


Examine how the hydrologic cycle moves water through and around the earth


Tour video scenes along the Limpopo related to The River Basin Theme