|Location||South Africa, Northern Province|
|Central coordinates||29o 55.00' East 22o 57.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3, A4ii|
|Altitude||1,000 - 1,747m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description The Soutpansberg, an east–west trending mountain range, stretches some 130 km from 10 km west of Thohoyandou in the east to Vivo in the west. Louis Trichardt lies in the centre of the range, below its southern slopes. The range rises c.700 m from the surrounding plains to form spectacular peaks at Maditshwene (1,606 m) and Letjume (1,747 m) in the west and the lower-altitude Entabeni Peak (1,449 m) in the east. To the north, the plains drop into the lowveld of the Limpopo valley. The range holds the catchments of several important Northern Province rivers, including the Sand, Mutamba, Nzhelele, Nwanedzi, Mutale and Luvuvhu rivers. All of these flow north into the Province’s most important river, the Limpopo.The vegetation is primarily north-eastern mountain sourveld. Scrubby thornveld occurs on the mountain slopes. On the lower and middle slopes, sourish mixed bushveld dominates. The mountain peaks are covered with scattered clumps of Protea bushes. Patches of Afromontane forest, up to 30–40 m tall, are found in valleys and moist basins, especially where south-facing.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Buteo oreophilus||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Not Recognised|
|Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres||resident||-||116-171 breeding pairs||-||A1, A4ii||Vulnerable|
|Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres||winter||-||250-400 individuals||-||A4ii||Vulnerable|
|Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix||resident||1998||present||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|African Scrub-warbler Bradypterus barratti||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|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|
|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, A3||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Entabeni||Nature Reserve||12,054||protected area contained by site||12,054|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Forest||Lowland forest - undifferentiated||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||8%|
|nature conservation and research||100%|
Other biodiversity Flora: the stapeliads Huernia nouhuysii, Stapelia clavicorona and Orbeanthus conjunctus are rare and endemic to these mountains. Other spectacular endemics restricted to the Soutpansberg include Aloe angelica, A. soutpansbergensis, Kalanchoe crundallii and Euphorbia soutpansbergensis. The cycad Encephalartos transvenosus, endemic to the Soutpansberg and northern Drakensberg escarpment, is known from near the site’s border. Amphibians: Australolacerta rupicola, and the subspecies taeniatus of the range-restricted Breviceps sylvestris, which may be a valid species, are endemic to the Soutpansberg. Two other species endemic to this range, Bradypodion sp. and Afroedura sp., are as yet undescribed. Reptiles: Cordylus warreni and Lygodactylus ocellatus (L. o. soutpansbergensis restricted to the Soutpansberg) are endemic to the Soutpansberg and Mpumalanga/Swaziland escarpment zone and occur in rocky montane grassland areas. Platysaurus guttatus, P. relictus (LR/nt) and Lygodactylus nigropuncatus have global ranges restricted to the Soutpansberg and nearby Waterberg (IBA ZA006), although the gecko also occurs patchily elsewhere in the central Northern Province.
References Benson et al. (1990), Carr (1990), Clinning and Fourie (1990), Coetzee et al. (1981), Jacobsen (1990), Tarboton (1990), Tarboton and Allan (1984).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Soutpansberg. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/08/2014
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