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Research, Policy and Practice

Table 3 Factors that influenced pastoralist temporary migrations before the land tenure transformation (Focus group discussion data, 2015)

From: Historical perspectives on pastoralism and land tenure transformation in Ngamiland, Botswana: What are the policy and institutional lessons?

Factor influencing strategic mobility Justification
Fluctuations in forage and water availability Take advantage of resources found in different places in different seasons such as water in the sandveld pans and surrounding grasslands
Allow grass to recover around Lake Ngami and Okavango riparian woodlands which were typically dry season grazing areas
The number of livestock herds owned In order to take advantage of a diversity of ecosystems, those with larger herds utilised herd splitting and grouping as a strategy to cope with drought or climatic variations; lactating, pregnant cows and calves were kept separate and closer to settlements; the males and non-producing females could travel long distances without water and were kept at distant encampments moving from one pan/ovikango to another in search of better grazing and water
The seasonality of the natural regimes; rainfall, Okavango delta seasonal flooding Reduce the probability of crop damage and resultant fines because floodplains were used by agro-pastoralists for flood recession agriculture known as molapo farming or ondondu farming (molapo means river in Setswana and ondondu means river in Otjiherero)
Avoid the moist conditions of the delta which is often a breeding ground for insects and disease outbreaks. Such movement strategies were used to combat the spread of FMD or the nagana disease associated with the tsetse fly
During rainy season, wild buffaloes move from the core of the delta to the peripheral areas of the delta, hence increasing the possibility of mixing with cattle. By moving away to the sandveld, such mixing was avoided; hence, pastoralists argue that outbreaks of FMD were low and manageable
Skill level of the herder and labour availability Knowledge of the herder was paramount in exploiting the different characteristics of the range, determining niche specialisation of herds and herd splitting for herds’ survival during prolonged dry season and drought periods