Veld Types at Elephant Plains

by | Jul 27, 2022 | Monthly Rangers Blog, News

Kayleigh Rose Humphries


Sweetveld, sourveld and mixed-veld

In the Lowveld, where Elephant Plains is situated, you get a wide variety of different grass species. They all have different tastes and different nutritional values and some grasses prefer different soils to grow in. Due to this, you will find different types of grazers grazing in different areas. Knowing what veld type you get in an area, will help you find the animals you are looking for during your safari.

What is a sweetveld, sourveld and mixed-veld?

Sweetveld, sourveld and mixed-veld are the different types that you can find in an area. This will also determine the types of grazers you will find in that particular area during different types of seasons throughout the year.

Sweetveld, sourveld and mixed-veld are all determined by two main environmental factors:

  1. The amount of rainfall.
  2. The soil texture (The proportion of sand, silt and clay-sized particles that make up the mineral fraction of the soil).


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Sweetveld is an African grass species, that is not noticeably acid in soil reaction and is characterized by production in the presence of adequate grazing of predominantly annual grasses.

There are two factors that lead to the development of Sweetveld:

  1. A low average rainfall over the growing season.
  2. A fine-textured soil like clay with poor drainage
Sweetveld - Veld Types at Elephant Plains

Sweetveld at Elephant Plains

Sweetveld is normally palatable and nutritious and it will remain with its nutritional value throughout all the stages of growth in its mature stage. It will have the same nutritional value during every season throughout the year. When the grass is young the level of nutrition will be at its highest.  In this area, if the grass is over grazed, the area will get damaged and will lose its value.

Grass in the sweetveld area can be grazed in the dry season and is going to be most likely where you will find most grazing animals during the winter months in the lowveld.

Grazers that you are most likely to see will include impala (Aepyceros melampus), buffalo (Syncerus caffer), zebra (Equus quagga) and White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum) blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus).


Sourveld is an African veld type that is widely covered with seasonal perennial grasses and offers inferior grazing for grazers.

There are two factors that lead to sourveld:

  1. High average rainfall during the growing season of plants
  2. A sandy, well-drained soil.

As the grass matures, the value of its nutrition drops and as mature grass, it will lose all its value. Meaning the grass is not a top pick for grazers to graze from. You will most likely come across a grazer or two during the growing phase when the grass is young and green, filled with all that yummy nutrition that grazers are looking for. The right time of year for this will be after the very first rainfall of the season.  Once all the plants and vegetation have enjoyed a much-needed rain after a long cold and dry season. Usually November/December time. During this time, you will find a large number of different species feasting on the young, green and nutrition-packed grasses, however, if the area is over-grazed, it will cause the area to deteriorate and will be no good for the animals in the area.

Grazers that you will find will be any form of grazers such as impala (Aepyceros melampus), blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and many more.

Sourveld - Veld Types at Elephant Plains



Does the name not say it all? We have just gone through two different types of veld and although the two different types have their different preferences of soil to grow in, doesn’t mean the two can’t be together. Confusing right?

Although it is called a Mixed-Veld it does not contain the same value as the Sweetveld and sourveld. Mixed-Veld grows slower after rains, therefore it takes longer to reach the mature stage Thus this type of grass is not as vulnerable to over grazing, like sweetveld and sourveld.

The types of grazers that will occur in this area will be a wide variety, impala (Aepyceros melampus), blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), buffalo (Syncerus caffer), zebra (Equus quagga) and White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum) and much more. Sometimes even an elephant or two.

It is very important to know what vegetation types you have in an area to determine what animals you will come across, but luckily no matter what time of the year you book a safari holiday at Elephant Plains, you will always bump into a grazer feeding on the veld types around the area, because we have a rich variety of each veld type and where there is general game (grazers) there will normally be predators nearby.

Mixed Veld - Veld Types at Elephant Plains

Mixed Veld

Keep an eye out for our weekly blog posts. We have insightful and interesting topics to keep you busy, while planning your next safari adventure! Hope to see you out on game drive soon!

Kayleigh Humphries

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