South Africa’s biomes (go to Biomes map)

      Grassland Biome

  • 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 sheep.

  • 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.