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Location South Africa, Western Cape
Central coordinates 19o 18.00' East  32o 38.00' South
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3
Area 500,000 ha
Altitude 363 - 2,026m
Year of IBA assessment 2001

BirdLife South Africa

Site description The north-westerly trending Cedarberg mountains are c.90 km long by 25 km wide and rise steeply above the Olifants river valley (170 m). Citrusdal, at about 170 m, is barely 17 km from Sneeuberg (2,027 m), the highest peak in the range. The Cedarberg forms the northern spine of the watershed between the Olifants river to the west and the Tankwa-Doring river system to the east. Directly south of the Cedarberg Wilderness Area, the Koue Bokkeveld and Groot Winterhoek mountains are the continuation of this sandstone chain.

The flora is extremely diverse, with mesic mountain fynbos grading into xeric succulent Karoo. Species of the Proteaceae, Ericaceae and Restionaceae dominate the mesic south. The northern Cedarberg holds xerophytic communities on the slopes, while the highest peaks hold typical fynbos. Protea bushes are frequent. Widdringtonia woodland occurs in patches. Moving east, karroid vegetation begins to dominate, and in the flatter, low-altitude terrain of the Tankwa Karoo, varied dwarf succulent shrubland is dominated by Mesembryanthemaceae and seasonally by annuals and geophytes. The varied flora holds many succulents. The shrub layer includes Tetragonia, Pteronia, Rhus, Salsola and Lycium. Belts of riverine vegetation, which line the mostly dry riverbeds, are dominated by Acacia and create a network of well-wooded veins that stretch throughout the plains and gullies. Other habitats that occur within the site are constructed farm dams, human habitation, gardens and stands of non-native Eucalyptus and Populus trees.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Cape Francolin Pternistis capensis resident  1998  present  A3  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  A1, 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)  
Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site 553,000 protected area overlaps with site 90,716  
Cederberg Provincial Nature Reserve 65,630 protected area contained by site 64,400  
Grootwinterhoek Provincial Nature Reserve 27,502 protected area contained by site 19,200  


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

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research 19%
water management 6%
nature conservation and research 100%

Other biodiversity Although botanical description of this area is incomplete it is known to hold an exceptional number of plant species, many of which are endemic. The cedar Widdringtonia cedarbergensis (EN) occurs in the special Cedar Reserve within the Cedarberg Wilderness Area. The IBA holds most of the Olifants river catchment, which has a remarkable incidence of endemism among freshwater fish. It is one of only two river systems in southern Africa to have more than two taxa restricted to its catchment. All eight of the catchment’s endemic species are found in this IBA, including Barbus phlegethon (EN), B. erubescens (CR), B. serra (EN), B. capensis (VU), B. calidus (EN), Austroglanis barnardi (CR), A. gilli (VU) and Labeo seeberi (CR).

Among herptiles, both Bitis rubida, described in 1997, and Cordylus mclachlani (VU) have global ranges virtually restricted to the Tanqwa Karoo portion of this IBA. Goggia hexapora and G. microlepidota are globally restricted to the mountains of the IBA. Australolacerta australis occurs in only this IBA and one other, the Eastern False Bay mountains (IBA ZA086). Capensibufo tradouwi breeds in moist depressions, vleis and springs in Western Cape mountains and it is found in the Cedarberg and the Southern Langeberg mountains (IBA ZA092). Nucras tessellata, Cordylosaurus subtessellatus, Gerrhosaurus typicus (LR/nt), Cordylus cataphractus (VU), C. polyzonus, Pseudocordylus capensis, Agama hispida, Afrogecko porphyreus, Chondrodactylus angulifer, Goggia lineata, Pachydactylus rugosus and P. serval are all found within the Cedarberg–Koue Bokkeveld complex.

References Cowling (1992), le Maitre (1984), Manders (1985), Privett (1994), Taylor (1997a), van Wilgen et al. (1992).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Cedarberg - Koue Bokkeveld complex. Downloaded from on 02/08/2014

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