The term Veld, or Veldt, refers primarily (but not exclusively) to the wide open rural spaces of South Africa or southern Africa and in particular to certain flatter areas or districts covered in grass or low scrub. The word comes from the Afrikaans (ultimately from Dutch), literally meaning 'field'. However, this simple translation does not convey the subtleties of the many idiomatic nuances of the term. Veld can be compared to the Australian terms "outback" or "bush," to "the prairie" of North America, or to the "pampas" of South America but the comparisons are not exact. A Yorkshireman might equate "wandering across the moors" to "walking through the veld."

By extension, the veld can be compared to 'the boondocks' or those places 'beyond the black stump' in Australia. There is a sense in which it refers in essence to unimproved land (and is therefore not the equivalent of the English "paddock") but in other senses the veld can include areas used both for pastoral activities and the planting of crops. The word is less appropriate for land that is heavily forested, mountainous, or urban. (On the other hand, a carefully-husbanded sports field on which the game of Rugby is played in the middle of cities such as Cape Town or Johannesburg is referred to as a "rugbyveld"). Whereas mountainous peaks and forests are not really welcome on the veld, bushes are acceptable. The area then becomes "bosveld." There are minor examples of bosveld here and there but the term is used mainly to describe Die Bosveld ("The Bushveld"), which is both a loose botanical classification and a specific geographical part of what used to be know as The Transvaal (see, for example, Jock of the Bushveld).

The word "veld" also carries military connotations. The word "field" in English has a strong association with "war," as evidenced by the expression "the first foe in the field" and the lines of the ballad 'Lord Marlborough' (see John Churchill): "You generals all and champions bold, that takes delight in field, that knocks down churches and castle walls but now to death must yield". The same relationship is paralleled in Afrikaans. Just as the English Army has its Field Marshalls, the Boer armies had their Veldkornets and Veldkommandos.

Highveld and Lowveld

Much of the interior of southern Africa consists of a high plateau known as the Highveld, starting east of the Johannesburg centre. These higher, cooler areas (generally more than 5000 ft [1524m] above sea level) are characterised by flat or gently undulating terrain, grasslands and a modified tropical or subtropical climate. In some areas there is a distinct escarpment bordering the plateau, while in others the boundary is not obvious.

Some surrounding, lower areas are known as Lowveld and are generally hotter and less intensely cultivated. Before the middle of the 20th century, much of the Lowveld was home to the tsetse fly, which transmits sleeping sickness. These areas used to be known as "fever country" and were avoided by mounted travellers, owing to the susceptibility of horses to a form of the disease. Malaria was in the past also a major problem in the hotter parts of the Lowveld.


"How well I remember the years I spent tending the cattle on the large farm, roaming over all its far expanse of veld, in which every kloof, every valley, every koppie was endeared to me by the most familiar associations. Month after month I had spent there in lonely occupation—alone with the cattle, myself and God. The veld had grown part of me, not only in the sense that my bones were a part of it, but in that more vital sense which identifies nature with man ... Having no human companion, I felt a spirit of comradeship for the objects around me. In my childish way I communed with these as with my own soul; they became the sharers of my confidence."- Jan Smuts. See the articles in Wikipedia that deal with his early years.

Alternative meanings

*"The Veldt" is a short story by Ray Bradbury.
*"The Veldt" was the name of a North Carolina alternative rock/ shoegaze band active during the 1990's [] .
*"Veldt" is the name of a band from England [] .
*"Veldt" is the name of a song from Simple Minds' 1979 Album Real to Real Cacophony.
*In the video game Final Fantasy VI, the Veldt is a large flatland in which the characters can fight any previously encountered non-boss enemy.

ee also

*Coastal plain
*Coastal prairie
*Flooded grasslands and savannas
*Wet meadow

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • veld — veld …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • veld — ou veldt [ vɛlt ] n. m. • 1902, 1964; mot néerl. « champ, campagne » ♦ Géogr. Steppe de l Afrique du Sud. ⊗ HOM. Velte. ● veld nom masculin (néerlandais veld, champ) Prairie tempérée d Afrique du Sud dont les arbres sont exclus par suite d une… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Veld — es una palabra neerlandesa y afrikáans que designa las praderas y sabanas que se extienden por el norte y el nordeste de la República de Sudáfrica. El Veld se articula en cuatro áreas diferentes: El Alto Veld o Highveld. El Bajo Veld o Lowveld.… …   Wikipedia Español

  • veld — s. n. savană cu ierburi înalte pe platourile Africii de Sud. (< fr. veld) Trimis de raduborza, 15.09.2007. Sursa: MDN …   Dicționar Român

  • veld — or veldt [velt] n. [Afrik < MDu veld, a FIELD] in S & E Africa, open, grassy country, with few bushes and trees; grassland …   English World dictionary

  • Veld — (holländ., »Feld«), in zusammengesetzten südafrikanischen Ortsnamen oft vorkommend, bedeutet: Weide und Jagdfeld, Ebene …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • veld — 1785, S.African, from older Du. veldt (see FIELD (Cf. field) (n.)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • veld — (also veldt) ► NOUN ▪ open, uncultivated country or grassland in southern Africa. ORIGIN Afrikaans, field …   English terms dictionary

  • veld — /velt, felt/, n. the open country, bearing grass, bushes, or shrubs, or thinly forested, characteristic of parts of southern Africa. Also, veldt. [1795 1805; < Afrik < D: FIELD] * * * ▪ grasslands, Africa Introduction Afrikaans“field”  name given …   Universalium

  • Veld — Le mot veld (ou velt) désigne essentiellement mais pas exclusivement les larges espaces de la campagne en Afrique du Sud, ces espaces ont un relief peu marqué et sont couverts d herbe et d arbustes. Ils sont exploités par des activités pastorales …   Wikipédia en Français

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