8. Central Breede River Valley

The Worcester/Robertson Karoo Centre, which includes the Middle Breede River Valley has approximately 1500 species of plants of which 115 are endemic.

Of the endemics, 77% are succulent species, although other groups such as the Ixias are also important.

Only 2.4 percent of this region is conserved and large areas along the Breede River have been transformed by irrigated agriculture, primarily for Lucerne, Stone fruit and vineyards.

Fortunately, several patches within this region have not been grazed since 1936 and remains in a pristine condition.

Key facts

Where Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Renosterveld meet. 

Flagship species

Green ixia, Worcester iris, Drosanthemum speciosum, Monkey beetles, Harvester termites resident in the ‘heuweltjies’.

Famous places

The Breede River.

Pressures

The region occupies low conservation status and faces irrigated agriculture pressure. 

7. Hantam Tanqua Roggeveld

The Hantam-Roggeveld area is centered on the town of Calvinia and encompasses both the Bokkeveld and Roggeveld escarpments.

Some 2500 species of plants occur in the Hantam-Roggeveld, of which about 10% are endemic. The rugged slopes and cool highlands include a wide range of species characteristic of the interface between the renosterveld and Succulent Karoo.

As with the Namaqualand Uplands, conserving the cooler areas is an essential strategy for maintaining the unique diversity of the hotspot in the face of climate change. Additionally, due to relatively low levels of transformation in this priority area, there are excellent opportunities to include viable populations of Black Rhinoceros and upland-lowland seasonal migration routes for animals, especially Springbok.

The total plant species tally in this 86,600-hectare area is 1,767, of which 357 are Succulent Karoo endemics and 173 are Red List species.

 Key facts

Interface between the Renosterveld and Succulent Karoo.

Flagship species

Sparaxis elegans and Sparaxis tricolor, Black Rhinoceros, Clanwilliam sandfish.

Famous places

Calvinia, Bokkeveld and Roggeveld escarpments, Tanqua Karoo National Park,and the Hantam National Botanical Garden of SANBI.

Pressures

Livestock grazing.

6. Knersvlakte

The Knersvlakte is an extensive dry plain in the center of the Succulent Karoo hotspot bounded on the east by the Bokkeveld Mountains. Fields of white quartz pebbles cover the gently rolling hills of the area and are associated with unique dwarf succulent plants.

The 48,500-hectare area is extremely rich in plant species, with a total of 1,324 species, 266 of which are Succulent Karoo endemics. Within the hotspot, this priority area has the greatest percentage of threatened endemics with 128 species being listed on the Red List. Small-scale mining for gypsum, diamonds and limestone/marble, overgrazing and the illegal harvesting of rare and spectacular species for national and foreign plant collections are the greatest pressures in this area.

 Key facts

Fields of white quartz pebbles with miniature succulents.

Flagship species

The bababoudjies, Argyroderma, Greater Kestrel and Conophytum uviforme.

Famous places

Vanrhynsdorp, Rooiberg Hills, Sout River Canyon, Quaggaskop private nature reserve.

Pressures

Small-scale mining for gypsum, diamonds and limestone/marble. Overgrazing and illegal harvesting of rare plants.

5. Central Namaqualand Coast

Although diamond mining and tourism development have transformed much of the Namaqualand coastline, the Central Namaqualand coast incorporates a crucial 30 kilometre wide tract of relatively pristine coastline where access to diamond mining areas was controlled.

The Griqua Communal Authority now protects a large portion of this area. The 34,600-hectare area includes 432 plant species, 85 of which are Succulent Karoo endemics and 44 of which are Red List species.

Flagship species include locally dominant succulent endemics such as Wooleya Farinosa, Grant's Golden Mole (Eremitalpa granti) and Gronovi's Dwarf Burrowing Skink (Scelotes gronovii).

 Key facts

30 km of relatively pristine coastline and site of the Namaqua Coastal Park.

Flagship species

Bokbaai vygies, Wooleya farinose, Grant’s Golden Mole, Gronovi’s Dwarf Burrowing Skink.

Famous places

Quartz patches at Soebatsfontein Succulent Reserve.

Pressures

Diamond mining.

Additional information