South Africa’s newest Ramsar site in KwaZulu-Natal
The government of the Republic of South Africa has designated its 20th Wetland of International Importance, and its seventh in KwaZulu-Natal province, effective on World Wetlands Day, 2 February 2010. Ntsikeni Nature Reserve(9,200 hectares, 30°08’S 29°28’E), located in an area rich in wetlands, is one of the largest high altitude wetlands in South Africa and has undergone the least ecological change due to the protective measures in place as a Nature Reserve. As summarized by Assistant Advisor for Africa Cynthia Kibata from the accompanying RIS, the site is recognised as the second most important breeding site for the Wattled Crane in South Africa and also as significant to the endangered Long-toed Tree Frog (Leptopelis xenodactylus), Oribi (Ourebia ourebi), and other wetland dependent mammals.
Because it is a Nature Reserve there are no commercial activities carried out within the site. However the maintenance of its character is under threat from commercial afforestation activities occurring outside of its borders that are a major source of alien invasive species. While there is no management plan in place, there are measures under the Protected Areas Act to ensure that the site continues to play its various roles including provision of clean water to the communities downstream where there is no formally organised supply. Ramsar site no. 1904. Most recent RIS information: 2010.