Original Research

The contemporary geomorphology of the Sabie River in the Kruger National Park

G.L. Heritage, B.P. Moon
Koedoe | Vol 43, No 1 | a207 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v43i1.207 | © 2000 G.L. Heritage, B.P. Moon | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 July 2000 | Published: 02 July 2000

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G.L. Heritage,
B.P. Moon,

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Abstract

The Sabie River in the Kruger National Park has been described as the most pristine in South Africa. It has remained largely free of direct alteration along its 110 km length within the reserve and as such displays a high geomorphic diversity. This physical vari- ability supports a great diversity of flora and fauna including a number of species endemic to the river. The diversity in fluvial form is the result of a high degree of bedrock influence coupled with a rapidly changing energy regime. Steeper bedrockinfluenced areas alternate with more gently sloping alluvial segments to create a series of channel types ranging from bedrock anastomosing through to alluvial single thread and braided sections. Each channel type is part of a continuum that relates to the degree of alluviation of the river on the bedrock template. Descriptions of the characteristic channel types associated with the Sabie River, together with associated morphologic units are given together with the areal extent of the changing morphology in the Kruger National Park. Each morphologic unit is characterised by size, shape, sedimentology and flow influence. Recent research into the degree and direction of morphologic change in the Sabie River is also summarised in the light of possible catchment management.

Keywords

Sabie River, geomorphology, morphological units, channel type, channel change.

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