(go to Biomes map)
Grassland is the second largest biome in
South Africa, covering 28.4% of the country or more than 360 000 km2.
Grassland is found in summer rainfall
areas, from sea level to above 2000 m. Most of South Africa’s
grasslands are found in highveld areas that experience frost in
winter. It also occurs on high mountains and in patches along the
coast from the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu Natal.
Grassland burns regularly (often every
year). The plants are adapted to survive fires.
The Grassland Biome is very rich in
plants, with nearly 3800 plant species recorded. Because fires are
frequent, there are very few woody plants like trees (mainly in river
courses and on rocky slopes). Most of the plants are grasses, geophytes
and other small flowering plants.
In the past, Grasslands were home to large
herds of animals like the Black Wildebeest, Blesbok and Eland. Today
these animals mainly survive in nature reserves and on game farms.
Grasslands are rich in birds, many of which eat seeds, e.g. Black
Korhaan, Blue Crane and Helmeted Guinea fowl.
Nearly half of the original Grassland
Biome has been ploughed up to plant maize, sunflowers, sorghum and
wheat. Grassland also supports livestock farming, including cattle and
Most of Gauteng and the Mpumalanga
highveld are found in the Grassland Biome. Much of this region has
been developed for mining, industry and urban development.