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Location South Africa, Eastern Cape,Western Cape
Central coordinates 23o 42.00' East  33o 37.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 172,000 ha
Altitude 376 - 1,757m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Site description The Kouga–Baviaanskloof complex encompasses large areas of mountainous terrain in the western portion of the Eastern Cape. The Kouga and Baviaanskloof ranges are c.120 km long and run parallel to one another from Uniondale in the west to Patensie in the east. The Baviaanskloof valley, which separates the ranges, lies c.40 km due north of the coastline, and to the south the Langkloof and Tsitsikamma ranges separate these mountains from the coast. The larger and more extensive Kouga range contains many high peaks at its central and western extent, up to 1,757 m. The eastern edge of the range is less rugged, and consists of plateaus and rolling hills falling below 900 m. Relative to Kouga, the linear Baviaanskloof range is far narrower and much more uniform in shape, peaking at 1,625 m. The north-facing slopes drop steeply into the Great Karoo.

Three main rivers drain the area: the Baviaans and Kouga rivers flow eastwards into the Kouga Dam, and the Groot river flows through a spectacular gorge before joining the Gamtoos river, which runs to the coast. The mainly leached and acid soils support mesic mountain fynbos. Trees of Pappea, Schotia and Euclea are common. Patches of Afromontane forest occur in deep, secluded, mesic gorges and are dominated by trees of Cunonia, Halleria, Pterocelastrus, Rapanea and Podocarpus. Arid veld occurs on the xeric northern slopes, dominated by Aloe, Euphorbia and Crassula. Spekboomveld is found on the steepest slopes at lowest altitude and is dominated by Portulacaria and Putterlickia. On the plains of the Great Karoo, karroid scrub appears, dominated by Tetragonia, Pteronia, Euclea, Euphorbia, Crassula and Cotyledon.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Cape Francolin Francolinus capensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Black Harrier Circus maurus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Blue Crane Anthropoides paradiseus resident  present  A1  Vulnerable 
Knysna Woodpecker Campethera notata resident  1998  present  A1  Near Threatened 
Ground Woodpecker Geocolaptes olivaceus resident  present  A1  Least Concern 
Cape Bulbul Pycnonotus capensis resident  1998  present  A3  Least Concern 
Victorin's Scrub-warbler Bradypterus victorini resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Cape Rock-jumper Chaetops frenatus resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Orange-breasted Sunbird Nectarinia violacea resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Cape Sugarbird Promerops cafer resident  1998  present  A2, A3  Least Concern 
Protea Canary Serinus leucopterus resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 
Cape Siskin Serinus totta resident  1998  present  A1, A2, A3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Baviaanskloof State Forest 66,611 protected area contained by site 66,611  
Baviaanskloof Conservation Area Provincial Nature Reserve 27,251 protected area contained by site 15,493  
Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site 553,000 protected area overlaps with site 144,568  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Montane forest - mixed  -
Shrubland Shrubland - Cape (fynbos)  -
Grassland   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
water management 15%
nature conservation and research 100%

Other biodiversity This area is thought to hold in excess of 2,000 plant species, and there are many endemic species of Ericaceae and Restionaceae in the southern Kouga–Baviaanskloof complex. Among herptiles, Goggia hewitti has most of its global range restricted to the Baviaanskloof mountains and the rare Lamprophis fuscus (LR/nt) has been recorded here, as has the highly localized Heleophryne regis and an as-yet-undescribed species of Bradypodion.

References Cowling (1992), Euston-Brown (1995), McGill (1992), Richardson et al. (1992), van Wilgen et al. (1992).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kouga - Baviaanskloof Complex. Downloaded from on 12/07/2014

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