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Location South Africa, Eastern Cape
Central coordinates 24o 32.00' East  32o 15.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4ii
Area 17,500 ha
Altitude 805 - 1,565m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa



Summary The Camdeboo National Park is located at the southern foothills of the arcing Sneeuberg range on the central Great Karoo plains. The reserve is largely mountainous. Over 200 bird species have been recorded in the diverse array of habitats in the reserve.

Site description This reserve is located in the southern foothills of the curving Sneeuberg range on the central Great Karoo plains. It is unusual in that it virtually surrounds the historic town of Graaff-Reinet. Both the reserve and town are included in the IBA. The reserve is largely mountainous and it ranges in altitude from the Sundays river up to the impressive peaks at Spandaukop (1,316 m), Valley of Desolation (1,399 m) and the tallest in the region, Drie Koppe (1,565 m) in the east. The northern edge of the Camdeboo Plain is located within the reserve. This plain is a large basin that is sharply dissected by the Sundays river and its tributaries, the Vöel, Melk, Klip and Swart rivers. The Van Rhyneveld’s Pass Dam, on the Sundays river, falls within the reserve and covers 1,000 ha when full.

The reserve’s vegetation is transitional between the characteristic scrub of the Great Karoo and the typical thornveld and bush clumps of the Eastern Cape, which accounts for the considerable diversity of veld-types found here. Dwarf shrubs dominate the karroid scrub, which covers much of the plains and lower escarpment, together with succulents and grasses. Dense and extensive thornveld, dominated by Acacia, forms belts of riverine woodland lining the mostly dry riverbeds that stretch throughout the plains of the reserve. The hills are essentially grassveld. The lower slopes of the mountains, especially where north-facing, are covered with dense stands of succulent mountain scrub, characterized by spekboom Portulacaria. Shrubland grows on rocky slopes and ridges, and includes Rhus, Maytenus, Lycium, Grewia, Buddleja and Olea.

Key Biodiversity See Box and Table 3 for key species. Over 200 bird species have been recorded in the diverse array of habitats in the reserve. The lowland karroid plains are particularly good for Ardeotis kori, Neotis ludwigii and N. denhami, and this is one of the few areas in South Africa where all three bustards are sympatric. The plains also hold Grus paradisea, Eupodotis vigorsii and Malcorus pectoralis. The belts of Acacia woodland hold Phragmacia substriata, Sylvia layardi, Parus afer and Sporopipes squamifrons. Monticola rupestris, Onychognathus nabouroup and Geocolaptes olivaceus occur in rocky gorges and kloofs. Other arid-zone species occurring within the reserve are Melierax canorus, Stenostira scita and Serinus albogularis. Serinus alario occurs seasonally, whenever there is seeding grass and water. Falco naumanni have a large roost near the town’s railway station and are frequently seen hawking over the reserve.

Non-bird biodiversity: The snake Bitis inornata (VU) has a minuscule range, confined to the Sneëuberg, near Graaff-Reinet, and it may occur within the reserve. The reserve supports other reptiles: Bradypodion karrooicum, Homopus boulengeri, H. femoralis, Psammobates tentorius, Chersina angulata, Lamprophis guttatus, Pseudocordylus microlepidotus, Pachydactylus capensis, P. bibronii, P. maculatus and P. mariquensis. It is conservation policy to restock the reserve with game species that roamed these plains prior to human intervention, and the threatened endemic mammal Equus zebra (VU) has been reintroduced.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni winter  500-3,000 individuals  A1, A4ii  Least Concern 
Ludwig's Bustard Neotis ludwigii resident  1998  present  A3  Endangered 
Karoo Bustard Heterotetrax vigorsii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus resident  present  A1  Least Concern 
Namaqua Warbler Phragmacia substriata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Layard's Warbler Sylvia layardi resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Pale-winged Starling Onychognathus nabouroup resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sicklewing Chat Cercomela sinuata resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Karoo Chat Cercomela schlegelii resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black-headed Canary Serinus alario resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2013 medium unfavourable high
Habitat
-

Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - persecution/control happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Climate change and severe weather drought likely in long term (beyond 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather temperature extremes likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Energy production and mining oil and gas drilling likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration medium
Energy production and mining renewable energy likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic native species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - small dams happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - nutrient loads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution air-borne pollutants - smog happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - type unknown/unrecorded happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution excess energy - noise pollution happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors flight paths happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors utility & service lines happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Shrubland Shrubland - Montane  0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  The conservation measures needed for the site are being comprehensively and effectively implemented  high 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Camdeboo National Park 14,745 protected area contained by site 14,672  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
nature conservation and research 10%

References Allan (1989, 1994c, 1995b), Martin et al. (1991), Palmer (1989a,b), Pepler (1994a,b).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Camdeboo National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/08/2015

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