Wildlife and Vegetation
Mount Anderson’s spectacular environment supports a vast variety of rare and endangered animal and unique plant species.
At the higher altitudes, where water seeps from sponges or between rock fissures, the resultant marshes host their own unique ecosystems. Here you will find vegetation that has adapted to living in permanent wetland and the dominant greenery consists of sedges – grass-like plants with characteristic inflorescent crowns on tall straight stems. This is a popular habitat for frogs and toads as well as shrews and moles. Dragonflies and the less sedentary damselflies can also be seen on warm days.
An abundance of wildlife
The streams are home to secretive creatures such as the Vlei Rat, Water Mongoose, and two Otter species. The Water Mongoose feeds on crabs and the presence of crab skeletons in the small middens (dunghills) is usually the only evidence of mongoose presence. Ferns and mosses grow in profusion where the rocks are kept damp by the splashing water. The largest fern to be found is the Tree Fern, and there are fabulous specimens on Mount Anderson.
The upper undisturbed grassland slopes, with a predominance of the palatable rooigras, are a sanctuary for large herds of wildlife including Black Wildebeest, Eland, Zebra, Mountain Reedbuck, Grey Rhebok, Blesbuck, the small Steenbok and the endangered Oribi to name a few, together with the common free roaming Leopard, Jackals and Brown Hyena.
Unique and indigenous
The property boasts an enormous variety of indigenous wildflowers, plants and trees – too plentiful to mention. Favourites include the silvery green tress and large pink flowers of Protea trees dominating the open mountainside – the Common Sugarbush and the Transvaal Silverleaf – as well as Wild Orchids, Red Fuchsia, Cape Holly, St John’s Wort, Aloes, Gladioli and Pineapple Flowers. We have also recently discovered a rare Alticola Miniature Orchid which comes up in the very wet sponges. The beautiful mountain kloofs are home to some splendid patches of indigenous forest with some magnificent trees still intact including Oudehout, several Rhus species, Parsley Trees and Buddleja – to mention a mere few. Hanging Aloes flower over the cliff faces where the numerous baboons on the property hide away.
Mount Anderson is a bird lovers’ paradise and birders will enjoy, amongst others, the greeny-blue Malachite Sunbirds, Cape White-Eyes, Gurney’s Sugarbird, raptors, swallows and swifts. On a recent visit to Mount Anderson, an avid birding group had a wonderful sighting of a Yellow Breasted Pippit. Rustling in the long grass you may spot francolins, including the unusual Greywing and Redwing species. On the high cliffs live a breeding colony of the rare Cape Vulture whose numbers have declined dangerously in recent decades due to the reduction of naturally available food and a high mortality rate as a result of poisoning or being shot by farmers who incorrectly believe that the birds prey on livestock.
The reserve also features a few outcrops of diabase – the volcanic rock that rose to the surface when the Bushveld Complex was formed some 2,000 million years ago. These rocky outcrops consist of large boulders that shelter lizards, including the striped skink. Large quartzite crystals are home to various succulents, while the damp climate encourages the growth of lichen of many colours.
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