With 22,000 species of plants and over 800 species of birds, South Africa is the world’s third-most biodiverse country. South Africa’s ecosystems are as diverse as its landscapes, with open highlands in the Free State, the semi-arid Kalahari, the unique fynbos in the Cape, and the Drakensberg’s alpine meadows, to name a few.
The grasslands of Mpumalanga and Gauteng give way to the bushveld as you move west into southern Limpopo and the North West province. The open acacia woodlands of this ecosystem are neither forest nor grassland. Widely-spaced thorn trees grow to heights of 20-30 feet, blooming gold and scarlet in spring. The summer rains bring lush grass, fattening the cattle that graze the in woodlands.
Because they can withstand the long, dry winter, aloes, agaves, and other exotic-looking succulents thrive in the bushveld, some growing to heights of 10 feet or more.