|Location||South Africa, Western Cape|
|Central coordinates||18o 12.00' East 31o 42.00' South|
|IBA criteria||A3, A4i|
|Altitude||0 - 30m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2001|
Site description The Olifants river estuary lies c.250 km north-west of Cape Town. The nearest towns are Lutzville and Vredendal, 23.5 km and 42 km east of the estuary respectively. The Olifants river rises in the Agterwitzenberg, a plateau lying between the Winterhoek and the Skurweberg mountains. The flanks of the estuary hold extensive saltmarsh; on both sides of the mouth, a steep rocky shoreline rises to form a gravel terrace.Marine algae grow on rocks near the river mouth, to the west of the island, and in the marshes, both at the mouth and farther upstream. The saltmarsh vegetation is well stratified. The flood-plain also holds numerous plant species with more terrestrial affinities. Reedbeds of Scirpus and Phragmites line the banks of the river upstream from Olifantsdrif. The terrestrial vegetation on higher ground is of considerable interest, as it is one of the few areas where karroid vegetation reaches the west coast. After spring rains the veld breaks out in mass flowering displays.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Ludwig's Bustard Neotis ludwigii||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Endangered|
|Karoo Bustard Eupodotis vigorsii||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea||winter||-||2,131-5,362 individuals||-||A4i||Least Concern|
|Karoo Lark Certhilauda albescens||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Namaqua Warbler Phragmacia substriata||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Layard's Warbler Sylvia layardi||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|
|Tractrac Chat Cercomela tractrac||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|Black-headed Canary Serinus alario||resident||1998||present||-||A3||Least Concern|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Shrubland||Shrubland - Cape (fynbos)||-|
|Wetlands (inland)||Estuarine waters||-|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||60%|
Other biodiversity The IBA lies in the centre of the ranges of many Namaqualand-endemic reptiles; most of them have been recorded in the vicinity and are probably present in the terrestrial succulent Karoo vegetation matrix surrounding the wetland, including Homopus signatus, Bitis schneideri (VU), B. cornuta, Acontias litoralis, Typhlosaurus caecus, Scelotes sexlineatus, Meroles knoxii, Cordylus macropholis, Gerrhosaurus typicus (LR/nt), Bradypodion occidentale and Pachydactylus austeni.
References Cooper et al. (1976), Day (1981), Morant (1984), Ryan et al. (1988), Summers et al. (1977), Turpie (1995).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Olifants river estuary. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/07/2014
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