In F2023, we completed a biodiversity study and management plan for De Berg Nature Reserve and properties earmarked for potential proclamation.

The De Berg Nature Reserve is an area rich in natural beauty that is largely in a pristine or near-pristine state. It has an, exceptionally, high species richness as it lies within the ecotone of four vegetation types and two biomes, and because there are drastic differences in elevation.

The entire area falls within Limpopo- Mpumalanga-Eswatini Escarpment (LMEE) centre of plant endemism. The area is regarded as a priority focus area in the South African National Protected Areas Expansion Strategy.

An ecosystem gem

ecosystem is that 30 of the threatened or near-threatened plant taxa within the area comprise 15% of the 200 threatened and near-threatened species known to occur within the Mpumalanga Province, but in an area that covers just 0.3% of the Mpumalanga Province.

Vegetation [photo]

Eucomis vandermerwei

Vegetation and plants

96.8% of the area has extreme conservation importance status:

  • 59.6% categorised as ‘Protected Areas’
  • 9.9% – ‘CBA-Irreplaceable'
  • 27.3% – ‘CBA-Optimal’

Exceptionally high plant species richness with 878 indigenous plant species recorded to date.

This includes:

  • 15 plant taxa endemic or near endemic to the SCPE
  • 17 plant taxa endemic or near endemic to the LCPE
  • 2 plant taxa endemic to the LMEE
  • 42 plant Species of Conservation Concern:
    • 19 threatened (endangered or vulnerable);
    • 11 near threatened; seven rare plant species; and
    • five declining plant species

Five of the 19 recorded threatened plants were new species discoveries made during a 2021 study of the Booysendal properties and are currently in the process of being described and published.

Vertebrates [photo]

Common River Frog (Amieta delalandii)


641 terrestrial vertebrate animal species, including frogs, reptiles, birds, and mammals, can be expected in the study area:

  • Ten of 18 expected frog species were encountered
  • 16 of 71 expected reptile species were encountered
  • 127 of an estimated 432 species of birds were observed
  • 42 bird species of conservation concern
  • 120 medium-to-small mammal species
  • 25 of the mammal species expected are species of conservation concern with seven of these confirmed
Aquatic [photo]

Dyticopycna sylvia

Aquatic and invertebrates

The area is considered high to very high aquatic biodiversity conservation status with high to very high ecological importance and sensitivity. The section of the Groot Dwarsrivier within the area is classified as a National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Area (NFEPA).

The area has a high aquatic macroinvertebrate diversity with 47 families sampled. It also has a rich invertebrate population, which includes:

  • 35 dung beetle taxa;
  • 5 butterfly taxa; and
  • 21 Odonata species (dragonflies and damselflies.

See Annual integrated report 2023, page 92, for information on a new Bulbine species found in the De Berg Nature Reserve.