Renosterveld – one of the most threatened habitats on Earth

Renosterveld is highly fragmented with fewer than 50 fragments being over 100 ha in size. Almost all Renosterveld remnants occur on privately-owned land, creating an additional challenge for conservation. All these factors, coupled with the large range of endemic and threatened plants and animals inhabiting this bio-hotspot, make this unique rhino veld one of the most threatened habitats on Earth and putting it in urgent need of conservation attention.

janaIt is with great sadness that we share with you the news of the passing of a great friend of the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust Jana Stirton. She leaves behind our dear friend and Special Advisor, Prof Charlie Stirton and their daughter Elishka. Charlie and Elishka have set up a tribute fund within the OLCT in honour of Jana.

Statistics: Status of Lowland Renosterveld

Lowland Renosterveld lost 95%
Remaining fragments – Unprotected 99%
Remaining fragments < 80 ha 99%

The Overberg contains some of the largest and most intact Renosterveld remnants consisting of four different vegetation types, namely Central Rûens Shale, Eastern Rûens Shale, Western Rûens Shale, and Rûens Silcrete Renosterveld. All four are Critically Endangered.

We are a small NPO dedicated to halting this downward spiral.


The Overberg Lowland Conservation Trust needs your help in order to help save the Endangered Renosterveld in the Overberg.

Here’s how you can help


Make a Donation

Make a secure donation to the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust, of however much you can afford, to protect the threatened Renosterveld in the Overberg.

Leave a Bequest

You can elect to have the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust as a beneficiary in your Will, in this way you are leaving a lasting legacy.

Become a Friend

Friends of the OLCT are there to provide a support-base to the fundraising initiatives of the OLCT.

Set up a Tribute Fund

A Tribute Fund is set up in order to honour a special individual who has passed away. The Fund is set up in a manner that enables friends and relatives of the individual after whom the Fund is named to contribute towards growing the Fund and becoming part of the cause that this Fund supports.

Become a Member

By joining the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust as a member, you will be making a genuine commitment to save endangered species and habitats in the Overberg

Join the Golden Circle

Contact Odette at or call + 27 (0) 83 551 3341.

Renosterveld Research & Visitor Centre: Now open for visitors and overnight stays

Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve represents the largest protected piece of lowland Renosterveld on Earth. It is owned by WWF-SA and managed by the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust. In 2014 we established the first-ever Renosterveld Research and Visitor Centre on the Reserve and it is now open for bookings as a self-catering guesthouse.

Get more information here or contact

for bookings and further info.

Did you Know?


At the southern tip of Africa lies the Cape Floral Kingdom – The smallest, yet richest plant kingdom in the world, most renowned for its beautiful Fynbos with its Proteas. A component is known as Renosterveld, named after the Rhino (Renoster in Afrikaans) that used to roam the region.


Renosterveld is the richest bulb habitat on Earth, displaying a spectacular bloom over the spring season. Not only does this system comprise a wealth of plant species beyond one’s wildest imagination, it is also home to a diversity of mammals, reptiles, insects, amphibians and birds.


Our more showy Fynbos habitats have been afforded much protection while our lowland Renosterveld has been overlooked and largely neglected – despite it being renowned for its incredible spring flower displays and extraordinarily high levels of biodiversity and endemism.


Unlike Fynbos, which grows on poor sandy soils, Renosterveld is found on more fertile soils, and has been developed for agriculture to such an extent that less than 5% remains today. This unique habitat is in itself a biodiversity hotspot, but is teetering on the brink of extinction.


What we do

Working with Farmers to Save Renosterveld

The Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust is uniquely positioned to bring landowners, communities, wildlife agencies, and NGOs together to conserve the last remnants of Lowland Renosterveld in several strategic locations. We help farmers a.o. with the management of their valuable veld more appropriately.

  • Part of Cape Floral Kingdom

    The Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest, yet richest Plant Kingdom on Earth. A system recognized as one of the World’s seven Biodiversity Hotspots.

  • Richest Bulb Habitat in the World

    Lowland Renosterveld is a highly diverse vegetation type, most renowned for its spectacular Spring (August/September) flower displays.

  • Remaining Lowland Renosterveld

    Renosterveld once covered most of the Lowlands of the Overberg, but due to its fertile soils it is now highly transformed for agriculture.

  • Red Data Status

    All four Overberg Lowland Renosterveld vegetation types are Critically Endangered.

Renosterveld – The Story

Around 300 years ago, when European settlers started moving into the region, the Overberg lowlands were teaming with large game, like Black Rhino, Bontebok, Eland and the now extinct Bluebuck and Quagga. Unfortunately, these lowlands were most suitable for agriculture and over time 95% of these habitats have been converted to cash crops and wildlife replaced with livestock.

 What is left of Renosterveld habitat today is rather different from that before large-scale agricultural development. It was probably a far more grassy system with an even higher diversity of shrubs and bulbs. Sadly, the replacement of large game with small, selective feeders, such as cattle and sheep, combined with years of mismanagement, has severely degraded this ecosystem and is often dominated by ‘unwanted’ shrubs, such as Renosterbos.

 Renosterveld is now highly fragmented with the smallest remnants is little as one square meter. The Overberg contains some of the largest and most intact Renosterveld remnants, consisting of four different vegetation types, all Critically Endangered. Almost all Renosterveld remnants occur on privately-owned land, creating an additional challenge.

 All these factors, coupled with the large range of endemic and threatened plants and animal species inhabiting this bio-hotspot, makes this unique rhino veld one of the most threatened habitats on Earth and putting it in urgent need of conservation attention.

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Hans Holheisen