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The hydrology of the Marico is of great importance and value not just in the Marico itself but to the rivers of SA


The variety of plants in the Marico cover a range of status’s, from endemic to rare, vulnerable an threatened.


The Marico Biosphere is home to a number of fish species that have been identified to be of special concern


Although numerous a lot more research needs to go into the capturing of data and information on invertebrates in the Marico

Because of its geography, climate and natural resources the Marico region has the capacity to sustain a variety of life forms. The Bankenveld, located at the interface between the southern Highveld grassland plateau and the central African savannah, forms a major part of the region. These biomes have a rich biodiversity including a variety of plant and animal species. Game used to be and still is plentiful. The climate is moderate. Rainfall is relatively low and surface water resources are limited, but dolomitic aquifers contain vast groundwater reserves. Thus the area has unique aquatic resources consisting of numerous dolomitic eyes with associated streams and rivers.

The Marico BR includes parts of both the national Grassland and the Savannah biomes, of which 5 bio-regions and seven vegetation types (as described by Mucina & Rutherford, 2006) are found within the BR area. Mucina and Rutherford (2006) defines a bio-region as “a composite of spatial (vegetation) units sharing similar biotic and physico-geographical features and connected by processes operating on a regional scale”. Of the five bio-regions, two, the Dry Highveld Grassland and the Mesic Highveld Grassland bio-regions, fall within the Grassland biome and two, the Central Bushveld and the Eastern Kalahari Bushveld bio-regions, fall within the Savannah biome. The fifth bio-region is an a-zonal bio-region, the Inland Saline Vegetation bio-region, represented by the Highveld Salt Pans vegetation type.

The area furthermore has a unique aquatic structure, as a large section is underlain by the Malmani Dolomites which give rise to numerous eyes (springs) fed by the dolomitic aquifers.

The topography in the Upper Marico River Catchment consists of flat to gently undulating hills in the south to deep ravines and gorges moving north to the town of Groot-Marico (Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, 2004). A large area of the Marico River Catchment is underlain by Malmani Dolomites with numerous dolerite dykes sub-dividing the dolomite into compartments (Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, 2004). The Malmani dolomites have given rise to large aquifers, thus groundwater is relatively widespread throughout the Marico River Catchment area (Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, 2004).

The section of the Upper Molopo River Catchment that falls within the Marico BR area, has a mostly flat to gently undulating topography, underlain mostly by intrusive volcanic rocks and dolomitic formations. Significant aquifers are present in the dolomites. However, these aquifers tend to be relatively shallow, making them vulnerable to pollution from ground level (Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, 2004). Groundwater is the only source of water supply for the rural population in the area (Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, 2004).

Thus the topography, geology and hydrology of the area lead to the area having a unique combination of landscapes and ecological systems.

Furthermore, the variations in land use and human interventions from small scale agriculture in the Core and Buffer areas and the grazing of livestock or game, to the more habituated areas surrounding the towns of Groot-Marico and Ottoshoop, add to the diversity of ecological systems functioning in the area. For instance, the ecological systems in the upper reaches of the Marico River will be more pristine and might be more complex than the more impacted ecological systems functioning in and closely adjacent to Groot-Marico Town.

Diverse Habitats

A Mosaic of Ecological Systems and their interlinked species

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In terms of the bird species, 315 species have been recorded, ie. 65.6% of those in the province, and 44% of those in the country)


In terms of the mammal species, 73 species have been recorded, ie 48% of those in the province, and 28% of those in the country

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A number of reptiles and amphibians occur in the Marico BR area.

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Sections of two biomes and five bioregions occur within the boundaries of the Marico BR

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