Savanna Biome

Soutpansberg Arid Mountain Bushveld



North-eastern Mountain Sourveld (A8), Sourish Mixed Bushveld (Al. 9), Sour Bushveld (A20); Dry Mountain Bushveld.


4 789 km²; ± 65% transformed; 12.59% conserved.

Locality & Physical Geography.

Similar to the Waterberg Moist Mountain Bushveld, this type occurs on the Soutpansberg mountains in the Northern Province at altitudes from 300 to 2050 m.


Annual rainfall varies from 300 mm on the dry and hot northern slopes to more than 500 mm on the higher plateaux. Temperatures vary between 3 and 44°C, with an average of 23°C.

Geology & Soil:

The substrate is characterised by an acidic sandy, loamy to gravelly soil derived from sandstone, quartzite or shale.


The tree layer is characterised by White Seringa Kirkia acuminata, Stem Fruit Englerophytum magalismontanum, Lavender Feverberry Croton gratissimus, Red Bushwillow Combretum apiculatum, Adansonia digitata, Pseudolachnostylis maprouneifolia and Acacia caffra. Red Seringa Burkea africana and Silver Clusterleaf Terminalia sericea are dominant in the sandy valleys. Communities of almost pure stands of Lebombo lronwood Androstachys johnsonii can be found to the east. The shrub layer is moderately well-developed and individuals of Spineless Monkey Orange Strychnos madagascariensis, Bushveld Grape Rhoicissus revoilii, Velvet Sweetberry Bridelia mollis, Phyllanthus reticulatus, Artabotrys brachypetalus and Mundulea sericea are commonly found. Shrubs such as Redheart Tree Hymenocardia ulmoides, Green Apple Monodora junodii and Shakama Plum Hexalobus monopetalus are also typical of the rocky areas. The grass layer is poorly to moderately developed and grasses such as Tassel Three-awn Aristida congesta, Guinea Grass Panicum maximum, Common Fingergrass Digitaria eriantha, Setaria lindenbergiana, Loudetia simplex, Heteropogon contortus are the conspicuous species. Other grasses that can be found are Kalahari Sand Quick Schmidtia pappophoroides, Blackfoot Signalgrass Brachiaria nigropedata, Broadleaf Bluestem Diheteropogon amplectens, Aristida transvaalensis, Melinis repens and Themeda triandra.

Key Environmental Parameters:

This vegetation type is restricted to the dry, hot, rocky, northern slopes and summits of the Soutpansberg Mountains.

Economic Uses:

Cattle and game farming, with forestry on the cooler and wetter slopes.

Conservation Status:

Well conserved, with important reserves including: Blouberg Mountain, Happy Rest Nature Reserve, Buzzard Mountain Retreat and Lesheba Wilderness.

Key References:

Van Rooyen (1978), Werger & Coetzee (1978).


Noel van Rooyen & George Bredenkamp.

Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. A companion to the Vegetation Map of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Edited by A Barrie Low and A (Tony) G Robelo.

To quote a vegetation type, please use the following format (using an example for Moist Sandy Highveld Grassland (38)):

Bredenkamp, G., Granger, J.E. & van Rooyen, N. 1996. Moist Sandy Highveld Grassland. In: Low, A.B. & Robelo, A.G. (eds) Vegetation of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Pretoria.


Copyright © Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, 1998