Brief Notes about Central north in general and Ogongo 1 and 2 Observatories in particular, Northern Namibia.
(Author: Fransiska Kangombe)
Central-northern Namibia is home to an approximate 43% of the country's population, according to the National Population and Housing Census of 2001. A large number of these people still depend directly on natural resources for their livelihoods and have adopted agro-silvi-pastoralism as the main land use. Following the Giess (1971) classification of vegetation units, the study area belongs to the Mopane savanna an extensive vegetation type within the savannas of southern Africa. This vegetation type is found in the north-western part of the country and is characterized by a well-known economically and ecologically important tree species Colophospermum mopane, the mopane shrub/tree (du Plessis 2001). The grass layer is usually better developed by Fingerhuthia africana and Enneapogon scoparius (Mr. Strohbach1, pers. comm. 2007). The study site also falls within the extensive Cuvelai Drainage Basin, which comprises a complex network of interconnected shallow watercourses locally known as oshanas (Mendelsohn et al. 2000), hence occurs as an open tree savanna found on interfaces of slightly elevated sand dunes between the seasonally flooded oshanas (du Plessis 2001).
The Ogongo 1 Observatory is situated on the farm premises of Ogongo Agricultural College, a training farm co-owned by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; and the University of Namibia through a smart partnership. Ogongo Agricultural College is situated in the central-northern part of Namibia, in the Uutapi District of Omusati Region about 50 km north-west of Oshakati. At present, small-scale agricultural research is conducted at the institution particularly animal and crop production for the purpose of training. There are several camps on the farm were livestock such as cattle, goats and sheep are kept on a rotational grazing system.
Additionally, there is a game camp where certain game animals such as zebras, giraffes and springboks have been re-introduced for educational and research purposes. There is also an orchard and a well-established nursery where ornamental, fruit trees like mangoes, oranges, papayas and live fencing trees are planted and propagated. These trees are available for training purposes of students in the college but also for other government institutions in the surrounds e.g. schools. The seedlings of these trees are also used in community development projects but may also be sold to the communities at subsidized prices.