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Location South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal
Central coordinates 29o 25.00' East  30o 18.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 5,244 ha
Altitude 1,224 - 1,411m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Site description Franklin vlei is a large, complex wetland that has several areas of significance. The first of these is Vogelvlei, which is comparatively undisturbed. It is not burned annually, and normally has moderate grazing pressure. The dominant vegetation in the most deeply flooded areas is extensive beds of Typha and Phragmites, while permanently shallowly flooded to saturated ground is dominated by large sedges, principally Carex, Cyperus and Schoenoplectus.The second significant area is the causeway that crosses a wet zone of the vlei near Franklin village. The area adjacent to the causeway is permanently flooded and contains very large beds of Typha, large stands of Phragmites (most commonly along the river channels), much floating and emergent grass (principally Leersia), many patches of open water which are often secluded, areas of tall flooded sedges Cyperus, and a mixture of sedges (especially Eleocharis) and reeds.

The Llewellyn area is an arm of the main Franklin vlei and has similar vegetation to most other areas of the main wetland. Rheboksfontein has extensive beds of almost monospecific Carex, stands of Phragmites and Typha in its more deeply flooded areas, excellent mixed sedges including Cyperus, Schoenoplectus and Eleocharis, and, in wet areas, smaller sedges such as Pycreus, Kyllinga and Cyperus together with wet grassland. Flitwick Grange has a large central area of Carex with mixed sedge-beds of Cyperus, Eleocharis and Schoenoplectus, and fringing mixed tussocky sedges, Juncus and grasses. Holwell is a much-degraded wetland dominated by grass and short sedge species including Cyperus, Eleocharis, Pycreus, Fuirena and Schoenoplectus, which has been partially drained by the digging of a furrow along its centre. It is grazed and quite frequently burned. The Ruswarp area is predominantly moist grassland, with sedge meadow in wetter depressions, along the Mzintlava river. It is heavily grazed by sheep over much of its area, frequently burned, and has some poplar plantations near the river. Dominant sedges include Pycreus, Fuirena, Eleocharis, Cyperus and Schoenoplectus. Juncus and Cyperus fringe the river channel in many places. Hebron is largely protected and has excellent beds of Carex, stands of Typha and Phragmites along stream channels, and areas of mixed sedges and wet grassland.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi winter  1998  40-75 individuals  A1, A4i  Critically Endangered 
Corncrake Crex crex winter  present  A1  Least Concern 
Wattled Crane Bugeranus carunculatus resident  1 breeding pairs  A1  Vulnerable 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland)   -
Artificial - terrestrial   14%
Shrubland   70%
Forest   14%
Grassland   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry 1%
agriculture -
nature conservation and research 100%

Other biodiversity None known to BirdLife International.

References Begg (1989), Taylor (1994, 1995, 1997a,b).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Franklin Vlei. Downloaded from on 02/08/2014

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