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Location South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal
Central coordinates 30o 14.00' East  30o 43.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 1,917 ha
Altitude 120 - 680m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Site description This reserve is situated 21 km west of Port Shepstone. It holds a spectacular gorge with many steep, sheer cliffs. Between the Oribi and Murchison Flats (plains that are north and south of the reserve respectively), the Umzimkulwana river has cut a 500-m-deep gorge through the soft sandstone down to the granite. The Umzimkulwana river is mature, with a bouldery substrate and short, shallow rapids with a few low waterfalls. Three artificial impoundments span the river within the reserve. Eight different vegetation-types have been distinguished in the reserve, the most extensive being forest and thicket. Shrubland, woodland, grassland and rocky communities occur to a lesser degree. Species-richness is high and the forests are dominated by trees such as Celtis, Chrysophyllum, Commiphora, Heywoodia, Margaritaria, Nuxia and Protorhus. Rocky outcrops are characterized by Tarchonanthus, Tricalysia, Cryptocarya and Loxostylis. The grassland is Ngongoni veld, and has a diversity of small flowering plants. In places there are stands of Protea.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres resident  present [units unknown]  A1  Vulnerable 
Knysna Turaco Tauraco corythaix resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Knysna Woodpecker Campethera notata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Olive Bush-shrike Telophorus olivaceus resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Grey Cuckooshrike Coracina caesia resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
African Scrub-warbler Bradypterus barratti resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Yellow-throated Woodland-warbler Phylloscopus ruficapilla resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Black-bellied Glossy-starling Lamprotornis corruscus resident  1998    Least Concern 
Spotted Ground-thrush Zoothera guttata winter  present [units unknown]  A1  Endangered 
White-starred Robin Pogonocichla stellata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Chorister Robin-chat Cossypha dichroa resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Brown Scrub-robin Erythropygia signata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2  Least Concern 
Mouse-coloured Sunbird Nectarinia veroxii resident  1998    Least Concern 
White-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia talatala resident  1998    Least Concern 
Gurney's Sugarbird Promerops gurneyi resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Swee Waxbill Estrilda melanotis resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Forest Canary Serinus scotops resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A2, A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Oribi Gorge Provincial Nature Reserve 1,881 protected area contains site 1,917  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   -
Grassland   -
Forest Woodland - mixed  -

Land use

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

Other biodiversity Botanically, the site is exceptionally rich in rare and localized species. Examples are Encephalartos ghellinckii, Leucospermum innovans, Podalyria burchellii, Acalypha wilmsii, Brachystelma tenellum, Huernia hystrix, Ceropegia rudatisii, Riocreuxia alexandrina and Plectranthus oribiensis.

References Beater (1970), Bews (1920), du Toit (1946), Glen (1972), King (1942).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/04/2014

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