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Location Swaziland, Shiselweni
Central coordinates 31o 3.00' East  27o 1.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A3
Area 2,000 ha
Altitude 950 - 1,390m
Year of IBA assessment 2001





Site description This area is located in south-western Swaziland, between the Mahamba border-post and the village of Gege, along the eastern Drakensberg escarpment of southern Africa. Shiselweni Forestry Company owns land east of this IBA. The site is dominated by the Mahamba Mountain, which rises from c.1,000 m to almost 1,400 m. The sides of the mountain are steep, but the plateau is relatively flat. The Mkhondvo river cuts through this mountain to form a spectacular gorge with sheer cliff-faces on both sides. Sour highland grassveld covers most of the mountain, interspersed with narrow drainage lines. Scrubby vegetation occurs patchily along clear mountain streams. Several forest patches are restricted to the more mesic valleys. Also present are rocky outcrops.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus resident  present [units unknown]  A1  Vulnerable 
Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus resident  present [units unknown]  A1  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A1, A3  Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   51%
Savanna   14%
Forest   33%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -

Other biodiversity Among plants, the near-endemic Cassipourea swaziensis (EN) and the threatened Aloe dyeri occur here. Most of the medium- and large-sized mammals have been hunted to extinction here. This is the only location in Swaziland where the elephant-shrew Elephantulus myurus is known to occur.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mahamba Mountain. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/04/2014

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