9. Central Little Karoo

The Central Little Karoo lies in the valley between the Langeberg and Swartberg mountain ranges in the south of the Succulent Karoo Hotspot.

Extensive plains, arid foothills and rugged rocky ridges include a wide range of microhabitats with extreme seasonal and diurnal temperature fluctuations (up to 28°C difference between day and night).

There are 1,325 species in this 51,000-hectare area, including 182 Succulent Karoo endemics and 92 Red List species. Although unique and rare species are found throughout the Central Little Karoo landscape, many of the endemics are concentrated along veins of weathered quartz, where patches of white pebbles provide camouflage and moderate the temperature for "stone plants."

Much of the vegetation in the important river corridors has already been transformed for agriculture - principally lucerne, but also vines and deciduous fruit. Ostrich ranching is however the greatest pressure on biodiversity in this priority area due to Ostriches' ability to survive on even the driest veld.

 Key facts

A succulent desert

Flagship species

Drosanthemum bicolor, tweekleurporseleinbos, Hoodia pilifera, Gloveria integrifolia,giant spikethorn, Disa schlechteriana and the Riverine Rabbit. 

Famous places

Langeberg and Swartberg mountain ranges.

Pressures

Agriculture and ostrich ranching.

Additional information