Drakensberg Grasslands, South Africa

South Africa’s Drakensberg grasslands are one of five subtropical grassland ecoregions in the country. The rolling hills and mountains of the Drakensberg are an important water catchment area and the source of both the Tugela and Senqu (Orange) Rivers. They are also home to over 2500 species of plants and rare birds, among them the wattled crane and bearded vulture. 

However, grasslands in South Africa are under-protected. Without conservation efforts, they are at risk of degrading, both due to climate change and over-grazing by livestock. The vast majority of the Drakensberg grasslands are used to rear livestock, by traditional communities and private landowners.  

WWF works with rural communities and commercial farmers to ensure that their biodiverse land is well managed under voluntary stewardship agreements. Now an ambitious project is underway to establish a new grasslands national park in the Eastern Cape region, working with willing farmers and landowners to incorporate agricultural land in conservation areas, so that biodiversity can be sustained and communities can continue to make a living from their land.

Voices from the Drakensberg Grasslands - WWF staff on the importance of sustainable farming in South Africa’s grasslands with Thembanani Nsibande
Voices from South Africa’s grasslands - Local farmer explains how he is working with nature to protect his livelihood and the landscape