|Location||South Africa, Free State,KwaZulu-Natal|
|Central coordinates||29o 1.00' East 28o 27.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3|
|Altitude||1,700 - 2,328m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description The northern boundary of this reserve lies 13 km south-west of Harrismith, while the southern edge lies along the border with KwaZulu-Natal, just west of Oliviershoek Pass. Most of the eastern boundary runs along the Free State section of the road (R74) through the pass. The reserve lies in the grassland and alpine belt between 1,700 and 2,328 m, and consists of rolling sour grassland surrounding the state-owned Sterkfontein Dam, which receives most of its water from the Tugela river. The vegetation is primarily high-altitude montane grassland. The western portion of the reserve includes part of the northern end of the ‘Little Drakensberg’ section of the escarpment, holding cave sandstone cliffs that are dissected by streams to form valleys and gorges. High-altitude shrubs form a heath of Protea, Erica, Chrysocoma and Helichrysum. Stands of Leucosidea occur on some of the slopes and small patches of Afromontane forest are found in a few gorges.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A3||Vulnerable|
|Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|Blue Bustard Eupodotis caerulescens||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Near Threatened|
|Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus||resident||-||present [units unknown]||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Rudd's Lark Heteromirafra ruddi||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A3||Vulnerable|
|Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A2, A3||Near Threatened|
|Buff-streaked Chat Oenanthe bifasciata||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A1, A3||Least Concern|
|Gurney's Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Forest Canary Serinus scotops||resident||1998||present [units unknown]||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Sterkfontein Dam||Nature Reserve||18,490||protected area contains site||17,770|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Grassland||Grassland - montane||-|
|Wetlands (inland)||Rivers & streams||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||14%|
Other biodiversity The reserve is known to hold the following threatened or endemic herptiles: Cordylus giganteus (VU), Tetradactylus breyeri (VU) and Bradypodion dracomontanum. The mammal Myotis lesueri (VU) is known to occur in the surrounding grassland.
References Colahan (1992a,b, 1993a,b, 1994a,b), Herholdt and Grobler (1987).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/03/2014
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