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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

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.

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 [units unknown]  A3  Endangered 
Karoo Bustard Eupodotis vigorsii resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  present [units unknown]  A1  Vulnerable 
Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus resident  present [units unknown]  A1  Least Concern 
Namaqua Warbler Phragmacia substriata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Layard's Warbler Sylvia layardi resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Pale-winged Starling Onychognathus nabouroup resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Sicklewing Chat Cercomela sinuata resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Karoo Chat Cercomela schlegelii resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Black-headed Canary Serinus alario resident  1998  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 

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  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 94%
tourism/recreation -
nature conservation and research 10%

Other 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.

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Camdeboo National Park. Downloaded from on 20/04/2014

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