South Africa: Klipkop Reserve
Klipkop Wildlife Sanctuary is a 5,500 acre property in South Africa's Gauteng province, approximately 45 km east of Pretoria. Klipkop is located on a rare and increasingly endangered type of vegetation called bankenveld.
Agriculture and urban expansion have decimated the veld here on the Johannesburg plateau (also known as the highveld). Found nowhere else in the world, bankenveld straddles the North-West, Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces between 1,500-1,600m altitude. Less than 2 % is formally protected and over 65% transformed. Private landowners now play a vital role in preserving what is left.
Our sanctuary was established with a novel leasing arrangement. Adjacent property owners removed boundary fences, erected a game fence around compounds, and 'leased' the remaining land to an association they themselves had formed. The 1,000 acre sanctuary was born. Expansion has come through expanding community participation and land acquisition.
We seek to protect bankenveld habitat and the tremendous diversity of life it supports. Bankenveld is very much a biodiversity hotspot - it is a transitional vegetation that shares characteristics with the high veld grasslands, low veld savannas (bushveld) and flora of the Drakensberg and Kalahari regions. We have documented over 450 vegetative species on Klipkop - including trees, shrubs, grasses, suffrutices, herbs and geophytes.
Our primary objective is to acquire more habitat. We reintroduce (suitable) indigenous species as opportunity and finances permit. We have a comprehensive range of buck, including kudu, eland, blesbuck, waterbuck, impala, reedbuck, grey duiker, steenbok, red hartebeest and blue wildebeest. Zebra and giraffe complete the mammal list. Among the smaller varieties are bushpig, warthog, rock hyrax, porcupine, mongoose and bushbaby. Klipkop is also brimming with birds. We have almost 200 avian varieties on record.
Klipkop is a private conservation initiative - it receives no funding from the government. We hope to one day achieve formal 'protected area' status, which is currently new and untested legislation. Bankenveldneeds to be protected for generations to come.