Nature Conservation at Jakkalsfontein 
 

The homeowners at Jakkalsfontein are committed to promote and maintain local indigenous biodiversity and to minimise the impact of modern-day human settlement and associated activities. They are therefore actively encouraging research on species and habitats, prioritising the eradication of alien invasive vegetation, and maintaining the unique visual West Coast character of the natural environment and architectural design of buildings on the Reserve.

Jakkalsfontein is of some significance in terms of conservation of threatened or rare plant species. Thirty-one threatened plant species, among them Agathosma glabrata (vleiboegoe), Babiana tubulosa var. tubulosa (wit bobbejaantjie), and Ferraria crispa (spinnekopblom), occur on the Reserve.

The Reserve has its own water supply, in the form of the Grootwater aquifer, which extends from near Yzerfontein in the north to the Modder River in the south. In places the aquifer manifests itself at the surface in the form of vleis as well as a small perennial spring. The Dwars River flows through the Reserve and enters the sea via a river mouth on its northern boundary.

Flora and Vegetation

Jakkalsfontein forms part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest, yet richest, of the six floral kingdoms in the world. The coastal strip between Blaauwberg and Yzerfontein is recognized as a botanical “hotspot” with high numbers of species, several rare plants, and many West Coast endemics. The last update of the plant species on the Reserve listed 494 species, but we assume more recent sampling will show a higher number.

Seven vegetation types occur on the Reserve.

They are (conservation status in brackets):

  • Hopefield Sand Fynbos (Endangered)

  • Atlantis Sand Fynbos (Vulnerable)

  • Cape Seashore Vegetation (Least Threatened) Langebaan Dune Strandveld (Vulnerable)

  • Saldanha Flats Strandveld (Endangered)

  • Cape Inland Salt Pans (Vulnerable)

  • Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetlands (Least Threatened)

Atlantis Fynbos and Hopefield Sand Fynbos occur on the Vyge Valley portion of the Reserve. This is also the area of highest alien vegetation infestation dominated by Acacia saligna (Port Jackson willow) and Acacia cyclops (rooikrans). Dominant coastal fynbos species include Agathosma imbricata (wild buchu), Erica mammosa (ninepin heath), Lachnaea capitata (vleiblom), Leucospermum tomentosum (vaal luisiesbos), Macrostylis villosa subsp. villosa (kousie boegoe), Protea repens (sugar bush), Serruria decipiens (Weskus spinnekopbos), Thamnochortus punctatus (steenboksriet), and Willdenovia incurvata.

Cape Seashore Vegetation is found at the foredunes just above the highwater mark. This is the zone of the greatest environmental sensitivity and least resilient to disturbance. Plants that grow here are chiefly Thinopyrum distichum (sea wheat) and Cladoraphis cyperoides (steekriet) further inland. Low shrubs, including Didelta carnosa (gousblom), Metalasia muricata (blombos), Myrica cordifolia (waxberry), Passerina ericoides (Christmas berry) and Tetragonia decumbens (kinkelbossie), are established a short distance from the coast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mature vegetation of the inner foredunes is typical Strandveld/Dune Thicket with species such as Chrysanthemoides monilifera (bietou), Osyris compressa (Cape sumach), Euclea racemosa (sea guarri), Rhus glauca (blue kunibush) and Roepera (Zygophyllum) flexuosum (spekbossie). This vegetation is most evident along the foredune margin near the mouth of the Dwars River.

Langebaan Dune Strandveld and Saldanha Flats Strandveld vegetation has been heavily grazed and browsed during the period when this was a farm. However, extensive tracts of this vegetation remain and show signs of recovery.

Typical species occurring in this category include Aspalathus hispida (wit-ertjiebos), Chrysanthemoides monilifera (bietou), Clutia daphnoides (vaalbossie), Osyris compressa (Cape sumach), Ehrharta villosa (pypgras) Euclea racemosa (sea guarri), Euphorbia burmannii (steenbok melkbos), Leucospermum tomentosum (vaal luisiesbos), Muraltia (Nylandtia) spinosa (skilpadbessie), Passerina (vulgaris) corymbosa (sandgannabos), Trichocephalus (Phylica) stipularis (hondegesiggie), Asparagus aethiopicus (haakdoring), Asparagus capensis (katdoring), Rhus lucida (blink taaibos), Salvia lanceolata (rooi-salie), Thamnochortus erectus (wyfie riet), and Willdenovia incurvata (sonkwasriet).

Cape Inland Pan Vegetation can be found around the twelve ephemeral pans that exist on the Reserve. Because the pans are salty, they are surrounded by typical salt marsh species such as Juncus kraussii (rush), Limonium equisetum (seelaventel), Sarcocornia cf. natalensis (seekoraal) and Sporobolus virginicus (brakgras).

Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetlands vegetation exists around the perennial vleis at Jakkalsfontein. These represent perhaps the most delightful natural systems on the Reserve. They also possess fairly high levels of salt, but are more acidic and contain high concentrations of iron and aluminium.

Two major formations are present: mudflats, and peripheral vlei vegetation. Species indicative of the mud flats include the sedges, Fuirena cf.hirsuta and Isolepis prolifera (vleibiesie), Laurembergia repens, Limonium equisetum, Lobelia alata, Plantago crassifolia (fleshy plantain), Sarcocornia cf. natalensis, and Sporobolus virginicus. Denser, taller vegetation found at the vlei edge is dominated by species such as Agathosma glabrata (vlei buchu), Athanasia crithmifolia(klaaslouwbossie), Berzelia lanuginose (vlei-knopbos), Elegia (Chondropetalum) tectorum (dekriet), Cliffortia longifolia, Helichrysum cymosum subsp. cymosum (yellowtipped strawflower), Chrysanthemoides incana (grysbietou), Juncus kraussii (steekbiesie), Orphium frutescens (teringbos), Othonna quinquedentata, Ficinia (Scirpus) nodos (steekrietjie), and Typha capensis (papkuil).

Mammals

Fifteen species of indigenous herbivores historically inhabited the Coastal Strandveld. Many a predator would have roamed the Reserve, such as lion, leopard, brown hyena, spotted hyena, caracal, ana wild dog. Some of the smaller predators still remain: caracal, African wild cat, Cape fox, bat-eared fox, honey badger, and African clawless otter. Unfortunately, the black- backed jackal has not been observed in this area for many years and is assumed to be locally extinct because of efforts to protect livestock. Three medium sized herbivore species, grysbok, duiker, and steenbok currently occur here.

Birds

The rich flora, wetlands and coastline create an environment that attracts a great number of bird species. There are at least 153 species, of which 26 are migrants from the Northern Hemisphere, on the Reserve.

Reptiles

Jakkalsfontein falls within the natural distribution area of 23 snake species. Common snakes include the cape cobra, boomslang, rhombic egg eater, skaapsteker, and molesnake.

Vegetation Management Programme

No garden landscaping is allowed outside the boundaries of homeowner and staff properties, Resort centre garden, and main entrance gate office. Only plant species which appear on Jakkalsfontein’s garden plant species list may be used for gardening purposes.

Where building operations disturbed the dunes, small scale dune rehabilitation is often required along sea- and road facing boundaries. On completion of the construction of each house, Reserve staff stabilises exposed areas adjacent to newly constructed properties.

Eradicating alien invasive vegetation remains a priority management objective on the Reserve. The biggest threat is posed by Acacia saligna (Port Jackson willow) and A. cyclops (rooikrans). Less visible invasive species such as kikuyu grass must be addressed from time to time as well. Over the last 25 years a sustained alien eradication programme cleared large tracts of land of the acacias, at substantial cost to the homeowners.

Blocks of land on Jakkalsfontein are periodically burned in a systematic way, to promote maximum species diversity and to reduce the risk of uncontrolled fires.

Jakkalsfontein is of some significance in terms of conservation of threatened or rare plant species

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Natural Vlei - Andy Hennings

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Sugar Bush - Hans Rabe

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Skilpadbessie - Greta Geerts

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Caracal at night

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Steenbok - Lesley Canning

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Growth after controlled burn

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Homeowners from time to time attempt to clean up the local stretch of beach

This is the result of one such clean up

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Fuirena cf.hirsuta

Typha capensis