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The Caledon Swartberg:


This montane island lies distinct and separate from the surrounding mountain ranges in a sea of renosterveld lowland vegetation - now almost entirely transformed into agriculture. At almost twice the height of Table Mountain, the highest peak Tierberg lies at an altitude of 2132 m. Due to its isolation and considerable height, the Caledon mountains have a long-established history of separate evolution and have acted as a refugia for high-altitude loving flora. It is thus no co-incidence that one of the earliest flower shows in South Africa took place at Caledon and at the foothills lies the Caledon Wildflower Garden that was founded in 1927 making it one of the oldest botanical gardens in South Africa. With over 15 species on the list of conservation concern, this mountain and its endemic flora is under tremendous threat from invasive aliens including pines, hakea and wattle. Most recently a fish of the genus Galaxia has been found to be distinct from other Galaxias of the Cape, and in the higher reaches a new species of Frog, Arthroleptella rugosa was discovered in 2008. The Caledon Swartberg is of critical importance in conserving South Africa's biodiversity, and thus it is imperative that its species are documented and that a considered and ongoing programme is established to clear the invasive aliens from its slopes.

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