Namibia Digital Repository

Karakul: Gift from the Arid Land (Namibia 1907-2007)

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Karakul: Gift from the Arid Land (Namibia 1907-2007)


"This is the story of the Karakul in Namibia - their origin, how they came to be in the country and their status today.

It documents the development of the Karakul industry and the commitment of the Karakul Board, the Karakul Breeders' Society, the stud breeders and the commercial pelt producers as well as the dedicated pioneers. The development of large parts of arid areas in Namibia would not have been possible had it not been for the Karakul.

It gave agriculture a stimulus that not only benefited the economy but also leads to the establishment and maintenance of a healthy balance between the ecosystem and its agricultural utilization for the welfare of man.

The Karakul sheep was a perfect solution for turning arid sandy and rocky wastes into productive land, because it could be raised profitably in an inhospitable environment. Since the 1960s, Karakul pelts from Namibia are known as swakara (trade mark) (South West African Karakul) and are marketed as such internationally.

The spectacular and beautiful Shallow Curl and Watered Silk pelts soon earned world recognition and from the outset renowned fur designers and craftsmen were eager to work with this magnificent, new and easy to handle, unique type of Karakul fur.

The role of the Government in the 100 years of Karakul industry has been of great significance. Patient breeding techniques began to pay off. The development of the Shallow and Watered Silk Curl at Neudamm was decisive for the Karakul industry, expanding from its modest beginnings in 1907 into a multimillion dollar enterprise.

Karakul research and breeding experiments carried out on three research stations, stimulated a fast-growing branch of farming. Government research and applicable results were disseminated to all parties concerned over the years and contributed considerably to attaining the current standard of excellence.

The Karakul (also referred to as the Black Diamond) made it possible to farm and make a living in the vast arid south of Namibia. The Karakul is the gift to the arid land and the pelts they produce are the gift from the arid land."


Brenda Bravenboer (with Berndt von Kunow)


Karakul Board of Namibia, Karakul Breeders' Society of Namibia




Bernard C. Moore


© Brenda Bravenboer









Brenda Bravenboer (with Berndt von Kunow), “Karakul: Gift from the Arid Land (Namibia 1907-2007),” Namibia Digital Repository, accessed October 22, 2019,

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