The Environment at Wild Flower Safari
A Biodiversity hotspot
This section of the Berg River is listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and is home to over 250 Bird Species. It is the rich plant diversity and river ecosystem which attracts this plethora of magnificent bird life. After the winter rains, the dormant Wild Flower seeds crack and begin to germinate - Thousands of wild flower and endemic plant species flood the landscape with a myriad of colours at this time of year bringing an immense amount of energy and life to the landscape. Small elusive game species can be sighted at various times of the day in the nearby vlei.
Dimorphotheca pluvialus - Rëenblommetjie
Wild flowers and Plant species
It is an area of mild wet winters and hot dry summers when temperatures can reach 38ºC. The average rainfall over the area varies between 125 and 350mm, virtually all of it falling between April and September. There are plant species that flower throughout the year but the greatest displays are over the short spring period from late August to early October. These include a variety of geophytes (plants with underground storage organs) in the families Iridaceae and Hyacinthaceace, numerous annual Asteraceace and Scrophulariaceae as well as various shrubbs and shrublets, both decidous and evergreen. After this the earth dries out rapidly and the annuals and geophytes disappear until the following spring. This area is home to about 1200 species of flowering plants, most of these occur else where too but 80 are endemic and are known no where else.
Kersefontein is well known with Birders from all over the world and has been a visited site for birding for decades. A large heronry located about 1 km west of the farmhouse is known to have existed for the past 300 years. It holds 13 breeding species, including substantial numbers of Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Black-headed Heron A. melanocephala, Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Yellow-billed Egret Egretta intermedia and African Spoonbill Platalea alba, as well as Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus. The reed marsh immediately adjacent to the floodplain is important for breeding African Marsh Harrier Circus ranivorus. African Fish Eagle Haliaeetus vocifer and an isolated European Bee-eater Merops apiaster population occasionally breed along the river. There is a significant roosting site for four of South Africa's cormorant species – Crowned Phalacrocorax coronatus, Cape P. capensis, Bank P. neglectus and White-breasted P. lucidus – in the area, which also provides a night roost for certain species, with estimates of up to 60000 Cape Cormorants coming in to roost in the evenings, as well as significant numbers of different tern species.
Game and other wildlife
Amidst the immensity wild flower and bird species, many elusive wildlife species can be spotted, these include: Cape Clawless Otter, Springbok, Common Duiker, Steenbok, Cape Grysbok, Grey Rhebok, African Wildcat, Caracal, Genet Cat, Small Grey Mongoose, Ardvark, Honey Badger, Bat Eared Fox, Cape Fox, Black Backed Jackal, Porcupine and Sus Scrofa Wild Boar.
The Melck's House Bat Neoromicia melckorum, the indigenous bat that was named after The Melck family by Roberts 1919. These playful flight creatures can been seen in the evenings in the Homestead, outbuildings and outdoors on warmer evenings.
There are also three endemic, highly localised and threatened reptiles occurring on the xeric floodplain of the Berg River: the West Coast endemic Gronovi's dwarf burrowing skink Scelotes gronovii, Kasner's dwarf burrowing skink S. kasneri and large-scaled girdled lizard Cordylus macropholis. A fourth threatened reptile, Cape sand snake Psammophis leightoni, is also found on the floodplain. The South African endemic sand toad Bufo angusticeps and Namaqua dwarf chameleon Bradypodion occidentale occur along the fringes of the wetland.
A working farm
Kersefontein farm is home to a host of natural biodiversity which is well respected in our farming practises. In your experiences and travels around the farm you will come across day to day farming activities. We will highlight these farming practises and explain why this climate and soil type is suited to the tradition of farming with Merino Sheep, Wheat and Hereford Cattle in certain portions of the the farm.
Where do we fit into the environment?
As part of our mission to actively participate in responsible tourism and increased stewardship of our threatened biodiversity, we donate 1% of our total sales of our experiences and expeditions to non-profit organizations that are on the front lines of conserving these important ecosystems. This year we will be supporting Birdlife South Africa’s Important Bird Area Fund, whose members undertake any number of projects focused on the environment in this sensitive area, these projects are funded and facilitated through the fund. Birdlife reaches the full range of people and organizations engaged with the protection and better management of the Berg River Estuary. We ensure this is spent in a way that benefits this biome directly through constant engagement with Birdlife.