Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment in South Africa Expanded

Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment
The grasslands in the Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment are home to Blue Cranes and the endangered Grey Crowned Cranes that utilize the region’s wetlands.

The Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment was first established on April 7, 2017, covering 14,305 hectares and made up of 66 properties in the area between Dullstroom and eMakhazeni (formally known as Belfast) in northeastern South Africa. Our partners, The Endangered Wildlife Trust, with BirdLife South Africa, Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, and the Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment Landowners Association, completed the necessary processes, including thorough field assessments and meetings with landowners, to expand the protected area by 7,448 hectares with 32 additional properties. The expansion was formally proclaimed on September 1, 2023, and published in the Mpumalanga Provincial Gazette Number 3569.

Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment
Not only are endangered grassland habitats conserved in the expanded protected area, but the two main water catchments – the Crocodile and the Olifants – are also protected. This area is also part of a Strategic Water Source Area, and this declaration will further conserve this precious resource.

A protected environment is proclaimed using Section 28 of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003, and farming can continue on farms with grasslands being conserved simultaneously. The area is well known for its high-altitude intact grasslands and endangered habitats, such as the Dullstroom Plateau Grasslands and poorly protected grasslands, such as those within the Steenkampsberg Montane Grassland habitat type.

This entire area is now 21,753 hectares in size, and the Endangered Wildlife Trust would like to thank everyone who was involved with the declaration of this addition to the existing protected environment, as well as the landowners to continue to conserve these scenic landscapes in the highland grasslands.


Story submitted by Bradley Gibbons, Highland Grassland Field OfficerClick here to learn more about our work in Sub-Saharan Africa.