|Central coordinates||31o 5.00' East 26o 6.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3|
|Altitude||670 - 1,837m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description This reserve is located in north-western Swaziland, between the border towns of Bulembu and Ngwenya, along the eastern Drakensberg escarpment of southern Africa. The western boundary of the reserve forms the border with South Africa, abutting on Songimvelo Nature Reserve (IBA ZA017). Havelock Mine and Swaziland Plantations own the land north of the reserve and the eastern boundary runs close to the main Mbabane/Pigg’s Peak road. Within the reserve lie some of the oldest sedimentary rocks known, c.3,600 million years in age. The site is dominated by the rugged mountains of the Silotfwane, Mgwayiza and Ngwenya ranges, including two of Swaziland’s highest peaks, Ngwenya (1,837 m) and Silotfwane (1,680 m), as well as its highest waterfall, Malolotja Falls. Steep valleys and gorges cut into this mountain escarpment, while deep river valleys and gentle rolling grassland plains dominate the adjacent landscape.Sour highland grassveld covers the gently undulating hills and slopes interspersed with narrow drainage lines. Scrubby vegetation occurs patchily along clear, fast-flowing mountain streams. Mountain slopes contain thornveld, and there are a few Protea bushes on Ngwenya Mountain. The valley slopes contain savanna trees and shrubs. Forests are restricted to the more mesic valleys. Also present are rocky outcrops, as well as open rock cliffs that form part of the Drakensberg escarpment.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus||resident||-||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Striped Flufftail Sarothrura affinis||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix||resident||1998||present||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus||resident||-||present||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Olive Bush-shrike Telophorus olivaceus||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea||breeding||-||present||-||A1, A3||Vulnerable|
|Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus||resident||1998||present||-||A1, A2, A3||Near Threatened|
|Orange Ground-thrush Zoothera gurneyi||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Chorister Robin-chat Cossypha dichroa||resident||1998||present||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Brown Scrub-robin Erythropygia signata||resident||1998||present||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata||resident||1998||present||-||A1, A3||Least Concern|
|Gurney's Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Forest Canary Serinus scotops||resident||1998||present||-||A2||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Malolotja||Nature Reserve||18,175||protected area contains site||18,000|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
Other biodiversity The cycads Encephalartos lanatus (Rare), E. paucidentatus (VU) and E. laevifolius (EN) are protected here. All three species are extremely rare and localized, and much sought after by collectors for cultivation. The small tree, Cassipourea swaziensis (EN), virtually restricted to western Swaziland, occurs in the reserve. Among mammals, Ourebia ourebi (LR/cd), confined in eastern South Africa and Swaziland to the grassland areas of the high-altitude escarpment, occurs here, Connochaetes gnou (LR/cd) and Damaliscus dorcas phillipsi (LR/cd) have been reintroduced to the reserve, and the southern African endemics Myosorex varius, Suncus infinitesimus, Amblysomus hottentotus and Pelea capreolus also occur.
References Allan et al. (1987), Anon. (1987), Boycott and Monadjem (1998), Monadjem et al. (in prep.), Evans (1998), Parker (1994), Snell (1963, 1969, 1970, 1979), Tucker (1957).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Malolotja Nature Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 16/09/2014
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