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Location South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal
Central coordinates 29o 53.00' East  29o 42.00' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 8,759 ha
Altitude 935 - 1,586m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Site description The reserve centre lies 11 km due south of Impendle town, and about 50 km west of Pietermaritzburg. The terrain is undulating, steep and rocky at the highest points, and dissected by small rivers that fall over a minor escarpment as they join the Umkomaas river, which forms much of the site’s southern boundary. The site is predominantly grassland. Some of this has been lost to agriculture, but over 2,000 ha remain, mostly as highland sourveld but with some southern tall grassveld remaining. There are small stands of Protea on some of the higher rocky slopes. About 900 ha of forest is present in the reserve, and the famous ‘seven-mile-bush’ is part of this. Trees of Podocarpus and Scolopia are dominant, with Kiggelaria and Pittosporum also occurring commonly.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Southern Bald Ibis Geronticus calvus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Swallow Hirundo atrocaerulea breeding  1998  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Bush Blackcap Lioptilus nigricapillus resident  1998  present  A1  Near Threatened 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Impendle Nature Reserve 8,759 is identical to site 8,759  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Shrubland   11%
Forest   88%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research 100%
nature conservation and research 100%
tourism/recreation -
water management 30%

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Impendle Nature Reserve. Downloaded from on 10/07/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife