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Wildlife

Flora

A large part of Minwater is situated in the succulent karoo biome, one of 34 'hotspots' of biodiversity which are internationally recognized. A hotspot is an area which is exceptionally rich in biodiversity in comparison with other areas in the same category and which is threatened by human activities. The Succulent Karoo is special, because it is the only hotspot which is completely dry. As a rule such dry landscapes have few species, but the Succulent Karoo is a unique exception. In the area is more than 6000 plant species, of which 40% are endemic. More than 1000 of the endemic species are succulents. It makes the Succulent Karoo the area which is the richest in succulent flora in the world.

The Eastern Klein Karoo (from Calitzdorp in the west to Uniondale in the east and between the Swartberg Mountains in the north and Outeniqua Mountains in the south) is a transition area between the western winter rainfall area and the eastern summer rainfall area and gets both summer and winter rain. Moreover, two other biomes which are international hotspots of biodiversity as well, viz. the fynbos and subtropical thicket biomes, converge in this area with the succulent karoo biome. Some of the plants of the Great Karoo (Nama Karoo) occur in this area as well. The result is an astonishing diversity of plants in the area - close to 2500 species.

Minwater boasts about 550 of these plant species and your host will point out (on request) many species with interesting names such as "ghaap", concertina bush, "botterboom", "dikvoet" and "koesnaatjie".

Fauna

If one is observant, many species of mammal or signs of their presence can be detected. The following species have been sighted here: klipspringer, common duiker, grysbok, steenbok, grey rhebok, eland, kudu, scrub hare, Smith's rock rabbit, rock dassie, baboon, striped polecat, small grey mongoose, yellow mongoose, small-spotted genet, honey badger, antbear ("aardvark"), black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, aardwolf, caracal, African wild cat, porcupine, several species of mouse and last, but not least, leopard.

More than 140 species of birds have been sighted at Minwater inter alia the rare black eagle and black harrier. No bird watcher will leave disappointed.

Furthermore, here are many leopard tortoises and other interesting reptiles, insects and other creepy crawlies - the Succulent Karoo Biome is an important area of biodiversity for reptiles and a large variety of invertebrates.

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