An introduction to the grasslands of the Drakensberg
One of the most important ecological features of the Drakensberg is its grasslands. Drakensberg’s grasslands are among the most extensive ecosystems or floral kingdoms in Southern Africa. Furthermore, grasslands are South Africa’s second most crucial biome. They sustain a significant array of plant and animal life. They are located in the lower regions of Drakensberg and are extensively in other regions of South Africa, such as the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Free State and Gauteng.
Good examples of the common birds that can be noted in the Drakensberg grasslands include the Hadeda Ibis, the Barn Swallow, the Helmeted Guineafowl and the Long-tailed Widow. Notable trees and bushes in these areas are Tree Ferns, Cycads, Ouhout, Proteas and Bottlebrush.
The Drakensberg’s grasslands are a mix of sweetveld and sourveld. The south-facing slopes, less exposed to sun and heavy rain, are covered with grasslands made up of sweet perennial grasses. These grasses contain high nutrients in the growing seasons and provide winter grazing. They are easily identified by their shiny texture, sweet smell and root systems which have a purple hue.
The other slopes comprise sourveld grasses. They are suitable for grazing in Spring and Summer but less so in Winter. Red Grass is a common Drakensberg sourveld grass. Common Thatch Grass is another. Other interesting examples are Natal Grass, Caterpillar Grass, Weeping Love Grass and Toothbrush Grass.