Scene from above: Birds and blooms below the cableway
Calling all bird-watchers, or “twitchers”, and flower fundis … View the magnificent fauna and flora of the Magaliesberg as you look out from the Harties Cableway cable car. Explore biodiversity in bloom – from small creatures that dwell in the dappled forest, to giant mountain aloes.
The Magaliesberg, home to Harties Cableway, has some of the oldest mountains on earth. It is reported to be almost 100 times older than Mount Everest, with rocks that bear the ripples of tides that lapped the shore more than 2-billion years ago.
The region is made up of dry forest and open woodland, where more than 130 species of trees and a magnificent range of flowers, ferns and grasses have taken root.
Which flora to look for
Tall red-hot pokers, tree ferns and wild herbs abound. In the drier areas, wild olive, wild fig, wild gardenia and wild raisin trees flourish. Look for pineapple lilies sheltering in the rocks and giant mountain aloes sprouting on the slopes.
In the dry forest areas you can expect to see an array of mosses and green ferns sprouting close to water. In the grassy areas, which house an abundance of “rooigras”, or red grass, keep an eye out for lilies dressed in blue, white and yellow.
On the open slopes you’ll find leafless stalks topped with small yellow and blue flowers. A type of iris, this flower only blooms in the afternoon and then withers as the sun sets.
Which fauna to look for
A few different species of mongoose live on the Magaliesberg mountain slopes, and dassies inhabit the cliffs. In the forest you’ll encounter vervet monkeys and you might even catch a fleeting glimpse of a shy duiker, or a porcupine.
The Magaliesberg is home to a variety of owls, finches, barbets and babblers. It’s a bird-watcher's paradise, with more than 300 species having been recorded in the area.
In winter, brightly-coloured sunbirds glisten as they dart between the slopes, while in summer migrating storks come to rest in the grasslands.
Birds of prey can be seen at the crest of the mountain, with vultures making the south-facing cliffs their playground.
At all times be advised to keep your binoculars close (and your camera closer), as you might just spot a black eagle.
Click to find out more about the rich biodiversity encountered at Harties Cableway.