Birds of the Magaliesberg 2023

This area consists mainly of the Crocodile river reserve of approximately 3500 Hectares of land and interspersed farms.The Reserve resides in the area from East to West between the R512 and R511 roads, the Schurveberg in the North and from the Northern Farm Reserve to the South. The geographical area falls in the buffer zone of the UNESCO Magaliesberg Biosphere, is demarcated as a “green” zone in the Tshwane Regional Spatial Development Framework and the Gauteng Conservation Plan categorises it as a critical biodiversity area (important and irreplaceable). A long journey was travelled to reach the point of being granted Protected Area status in October 2019. There have been many firsts in this journey. It all started some time ago, in 1986 when the then Transvaal Provincial Administration earmarked Hills and Dales farm for a low-cost housing scheme.The Greenbelt Action Group was hastily created, and ensuing negotiations led to the proposal being withdrawn. In 1987 the Kareebosrand Conservancy (the first Conservancy in what is now Gauteng) was established, consisting largely of Hills and Dales and Roodekrans farms.

To keep the area’s natural environment intact, the Conservancy managed to stop two mining houses from acquiring mineral rights for mining, as well as a proposed development of +- 24000 houses all over Hills and Dales. At this time in the mid-1990s the Rhenosterspruit Nature Reserve was planned; a vast area was to be fenced with the goal of bringing in game, but sadly their formal application to Gauteng was rejected twice. In 2004 the Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy, covering a vast area in Gauteng and North-west Provinces was registered with the Gauteng Conservancy Association. The reserve is home to one of the last remaining pieces of Egoli Granite Grassland (EGG), an endangered vegetation type, a recognized biome endemic to Gauteng as well as home to more than 300 species of birds of which a number are red data species such as the African Grass Owl. The varied terrain and variety of habitats also accounts for a large number of animals, snakes, scorpions, frogs, tortoises, insects and a large number of rare and medicinal plant species which are protectedA geological seam runs through the Reserve with dolomites on one side and granite on the other side.The Crocodile, Hennops and Jukskei Rivers flow through the Reserve on their way to the Hartbeespoort dam.

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