Flora and Fauna

Flora and Fauna

Krantzkloof is home to a wide variety of Flora and Fauna – including some rare or endangered species. A number of raptors are resident in and around the Reserve and visitors are often able to experience the splendour of the crowned, black or martial eagles as they ride the thermals above the cliff faces.

Lists of local flora and fauna of the Kloof area can be found on the Kloof Conservancy  website by clicking the links below:


BIRDS

Krantzkloof Nature Reserve is home to more than 250 species of birds. The variety of habitats provide excellent opportunities to see a wide range of species.

On the Forest Trail you are likely to spot species such as the Knysna Turaco, Purple-crested Turaco, Red-chested Cuckoo, Green Wood-hhopoe and the shy but stunning Narina Trogon.

The cliffs attract several raptor species including the African Crowned Eagle which nest in the reserve, Martial Eagle, African Harrier Hawk, African Goshawk, Black Sparrowhawk, Lanner and Perrigrine Falcons. The reserve is also the most southerly nesting site for the Walhberg’s Eagle.

The Uve Trail and other grassland areas are home to the Dark-capped Bulbul, Yellow-throated Longclaw and Bronze Mannikins. Sightings of water birds are limited due to the narrow streams and closed canopies but the Mountain Wagtail is everpresent on most streams in the reserve.

Trumpeter and Crowned Hornbills are also common in the reserve. The Trumpeters are particularly noisy and gregarious and can often be spotted in large flocks of up to 50 birds.

The endangered Spotted Ground Thrush can be seen foraging on the dense woodland/forest floor.


HERPETOFAUNA (Amphibians and Reptiles)

The presence and, or absence, of certain frog and reptile species is an indicator of the health of an ecosystem and in particular its waterways. This information is helpful when management strategies are developed for the reserve.

Krantzkloof is home to several frog, snake and lizard species the largest of which is the Water Monitor which can be found on most of the streams. The forest is home to chameleons and terrapins can be found in the river. The endangered Kloof Frog, the familiar Natal Tree Frog and the colourful Marbled Reed Frog can also be found in the reserve.

There are several snake species found in the reserve including the iconic and endangered Natal Rock Python. Other relatively common species include Spotted Bush Snake, Natal Green Snake, Boomslang, Rhombic Night Adder, Puff Adder, Mozambican Spitting Cobra, Black Mamba and Vine Snake.

Generally speaking, if you leave a snake alone, it will leave you alone. If you are fortunate enough to spot a snake, stay calm and move away slowly.


INVERTEBRATES

Although their presence is often overlooked, invertebrates play a critical role in the functioning of an ecosystem. They are responsible for maintaining soil fertility, waste disposal, water purification, pest control, pollination and may even influence the structure of plant communities. In some cases the survival of local endemic plant species may be linked to a single pollinator.

Visitors may encounter the impressive Ruby-legged Black Millipede as it makes its way along the forest floor, and are sure to see some of the several web-building spider species. The Kite Spider is distinctive with its brightly coloured, spiky body. Golden Orb Spiders and Bark Spiders are also common in the reserve.

The forest floor is home to the vulnerable Snake Skin Hunter Slug, while Krantzkloof Nature Reserve is one of only three places in KZN where the rare Freshwater Shrimp has been recorded.

Numerous butterfly species can be seen in the reserve in all of the habitat types


MAMMALS

Mammals are difficult to spot as they tend to be shy of humans but the observant visitor may spot bushbuck which are the most common antelope in the reserve. Good spots are the forest margins along the Longshadows Trail, the Beacon Trail, anywhere along the Molweni River and on the forest margins bordering the grasslands near Nkutu Gorge. The ram is usually a darkish brown and the ewe a lighter reddish brown. Both sexes darken with age. Bushbuck are the only solitary, non-territorial African antelope and are most active in the early mornings and at night.

Burchell’s Plains Zebra can often be spotted in the eastern grasslands near the Uve Road entrance and in the grasslands on the southern side of the Nkutu Gorge. Blue Duiker and Grey Duiker are very shy but can be spotted occasionally. Bush Pig and Porcupine are also common in the reserve, but are seldom seen as they are nocturnal. Their droppings can frequently be seen on the trail paths!

Less common species that have been seen in the reserve include Large-spotted Genet, Caracal, Cape Clawless Otter, Slender Mongoose, Water Mongoose, Banded Mongoose and 13 species of bat.


FLORA

Krantzkloof encompasses three biomes: – savannah, forest and grasslands (threatened KZN Sandstone Sourveld grassland is the most common type in the reserve).

The reserve has an exceptional botanical diversity. Mostly densely forested with the oldest parts of the forest in the deep gullies which are sheltered from fire and wood cutting.

The reserve is home to a number of extraordinary species, including one of SA’s rarest trees, the Natal Sandstone Quince, three cycad species and a number of Red Data listed species, amongst them Gladioli and the critically endangered Brachystelma pulchellum. The reserve is home to its very own endemic Streptocarpus molweniensis which is only found in Krantzkloof and nowhere else on the planet!

A walk in the reserve offers an opportunity to see some well known tree species and to encounter some not so familiar forest species. These include Cabbage trees, River Macaranga, Bushwillows, Corkwoods, Waterberry, Spikethorns, Sickle-bush, Red Currant, Quinine-tree, Weeping Boer-bean and a number of Acacia species.

Click HERE for more on the Flora