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The Karkloof Conservancy covers an expanse of about 40,000 hectares. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has identified the Karkloof as being of significant value in terms of conservation and has earmarked it as a “biodiversity hotspot”. The area includes pristine wetlands, mist belt grasslands and huge tracts of mist belt forest, which are all protected biomes. A biome is a community of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. Numerous endemic and near-endemic species of fauna and flora thrive in this unique environment.

The Karkloof Conservancy was formed in 1998 by local farmers, foresters and landowners to protect area. The Conservation centre is entered at Gatmore farm where agriculture is practised in harmony with birds, antelope and an abundance of frog and insect life. The fertile farmland has many oxbow lakes, with the flood plains of the Yarrow and Karkloof rivers, which creates ideal habitat for waterfowl and all three species of Crane which are regularly seen here.

Take a walk and spend some time in a hide which will allow you good visibility of a number of bird species. Some of the birds you can see: Wattled Crane, Grey Crowned Crane, Blue Crane, Southern Bald Ibis, African Spoonbill, Buff-spotted and Red-chested Flufftail, Black-winged Lapwing, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, African Fish-Eagle, Denham’s Bustard, Secretary Bird, Southern Ground-Hornbill, Lesser Moorhen, Baillon’s Crake and in wetter years, Lesser Jacana.

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