Hlatikulu, situated between Kamberg and Giants Castle Nature Reserves in the foothills of the Ukahlamba Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site is an area of particular scenic beauty and has high nature conservation and recreational value. Vegetation consist of grasslands classified as Highland Sourveld, with patches of indigenous forest, riverine scrub & Protea savannah, and of course, wetlands.

Species which occur in the area include Eland, to the endangered Oribi. Aardvark,porcupine, Water Mongoose and Cape Clawless Otter, and some smaller predators such as serval, caracal and African wild cat. The endangered Bearded vulture is seen regularly and critically endangered Wattled Cranes nest and breed in the Hlatikulu vlei.

A number of properties in the valley are Crane & Oribi Custodians and the Hlatikulu vlei is an IBA (Important Birding Area) as recognised by Birdlife SA. All three Crane species can be seen in the valley as well as an impressive bird list of 220 species, with a number of SA endemics. In 1996 the Hlatikulu Crane and Wetland Sanctuary was declared a national ‘Site of Conservation Significance’. ¬†Here injured or orphaned cranes are rehabilitated and returned to the wild.

An extensive wetland rehabilitation programme has been in progress for many years. The wetland was previously under ridge-and-furrow agriculture which interfered with the flow of water in the vlei. Hundreds of damlets have been built and three large dams to raise the water table.

There are many pressures on this sensitive environment:

The consequences of these could cause the loss of indigenous biodiversity and the loss or reduction in the quality of natural resources such as soil and water.

Contact Nic Shaw nic@envroed.co.za  O33 263 2441

To view the Hlatikulu Photo Gallery click here.

Further reading: