Drakensberg Montane Shrublands & Woodlands | WWF

Drakensberg Montane Shrublands & Woodlands

About the Area

The Drakensberg Montane Shrublands and Woodlands occupy the mid to upper elevations of the Drakensberg Mountains (that contain the highest peaks in Southern Africa), Swaziland, Lesotho, Stormberg, Mount Andersson, and Soutpansberg Mountains farther to the north.
Exhibiting patterns of regional altitudinal variation, this ecoregion is important for the large numbers of endemic grassland plants and reptiles, including areas of quartzite and dolomite rock in the northwestern portion. It is also famous for the restoration of the southern white rhino, living in one of the largest game parks in South Africa.

Local Species
Bird species include Rudd's lark (Heteromirafa ruddi), Drakensberg siskin (Serinus symonsi), Orange-breasted rockjumper (Chaetops aurantius), and Black-capped mountain babbler (Lioptilus nigricapillus). Plant species include Festuca caprina and several cycads, such as Encephalartos natalensis.

Among the reptiles found nowhere else in the world are the Drakensberg dwarf chameleon (Bradypodion dracomontanum) and species such as Spiny crag lizard (Pseudocordylus spinosus), Soutspansberg rock lizard (Australolacerta rupicola), Prickly Girdled Lizard (Pseudocordyl us spinosus), and Cottrell's mountain lizard (Tropidosaura cottrelli).

Endemic amphibians include Mist belt chirping frog (Arthroleptella ngongoniensis) and Aquatic river frog (Rana vertebralis).

Threats include conversion to agriculture, timber extraction, fire, bark-stripping of medicinal trees, soil erosion, cattle-grazing, firewood collection, aforestation with exotic trees, and other invasive plants.


202,216 sq. km (78,075 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Montane Grasslands and Shrublands

Geographic Location:
Southern Africa, covering sections of Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland

Conservation Status:

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