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The sand forest of iSimangaliso’s False Bay

The sand forest of iSimangaliso’s False Bay

29 Mar 2019

The False Bay section of iSimangaliso is possibly the most underrated area in the Park. Few realise just how special this area, comprising mostly of rare sand forest, is and why it is so vital to protect it. At first glance, it may seem rather unimpressive, but a closer inspection will reveal unique characteristics. Sand forest covers a smaller area than any other forest type in South Africa – just one reason to protect that which remains.

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From towering Lebombo wattle trees (Newtonia hildebrandtii) to rare indigenous cacti and orchids, the sand forest biome is also host to many animal species including red duiker, suni, hyaena and leopard, and is known as a fantastic birding area for such species as the African broadbill and Neergaard’s sunbird.

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One of those who understands the singular value of this vegetation type is Dr Francois du Randt, a medical doctor living in Hluhluwe, who has spent most of his spare time passionately exploring the sand forest areas of South Africa.

After 23 years of ‘citizen science’ and personal observation, much of it as an Honorary Officer contributing to assist the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife management team, Du Randt has produced a tome on the subject that deserves recognition for the light it shines on this little known subject. The book, entitled ‘The Sand Forest of Maputaland’ is some 400 pages of beautifully photographed and detailed information on a wide range of topics relating to the sand forest, from vegetation to animals, butterflies and insects. Du Randt has done a wonderful job in highlighting a particularly special part of our World Heritage Site, which renowned horticulturalist Geoff Nichols agrees is one of the finest examples of its type in the world.

As a conservation record of the False Bay section of iSimangaliso as well as the rest of the Maputaland region, it is superb.

Du Randt’s book may be purchased through SANBI. Send an email to sanbibookshop@sanbi.org.za.

Media enquiries should be directed to Debbie Cooper at debbie@isimangaliso.com.