The Steenkampsberg Plateau
The village of Dullstroom is situated on the The Steenkampsberg Plateau, an elevated area, of about 20 km wide. The average altitude is 2000 meter above sea-level. The grasslands and wetlands in this area provide a habitat for a remarkable variety of interesting fauna and flora.
The Steenkampsberg falls in the Grassland Biome (the North Eastern Mountain Sourveld). The rolling grassland country of the extreme north eastern Highveld is one of high rainfall, cold winters, frost, occasional snowfall and mild summers with frequent mist. Windswept winters and regular fires result in the existence of only a few species of indigenous trees, a treasure of wild flowers and other plant-life occurs, including different varieties of ground orchids, gladioli, watsonias, red hot pokers, arum lilies, unusual proteas, treeferns and river lilies. An interesting variety of birds and reptiles also exist on the plateau. The area is furthermore an important refuge for certain endangered species, including the Wattled Crane and Blue Crane (critically endangered) and the Crowned Crane (endangered) and the Oribi (a red data species).
The grassland environment of Steenkampsberg is host to a large diversity of mammals. Larger species include Eland, Blesbok, Black Wildebeest, Burchell's Zebra, and Red Hartebeest. Most of this game was lost to hunting. Some of the private nature reserves have reintroduced these species successfully. Black-backed Jackal and smaller antelope, endemic to the grasslands, for example the Mountain Reedbuck, Grey Rhebok, Grey Duiker and Steenbuck are still fairly common. The Oribi is the most threatened antelope species in the Steenkampsberg, due to its confiding nature, and is classified as a red data species. Alien forest plantations have also deprived some of these species of their grassland habitat. Smaller mammals such as the Cape Clawless Otter, Red Rock Rabbit, Suricate, Yellow Mongoose, Slender Mongoose, Striped Mouse, Porcupine and Caracal may also be spotted.
Wetlands are of great importance, acting as one of nature's natural filters and sponges. These are highly productive areas where nutrients and chemicals are recycled, whilst at the same time providing a habitat for a wide variety of wildlife and plants. The sponges and vleis in this escarpment area provide the source of water for rivers, such as the Elands and Crocodile Rivers. The water from these swampy areas collect to form cold clear streams, meandering between the hillocks and tumbling as waterfalls over rocky outcrops into the valleys and plains below. The rainbow trout and brown trout thrive in these streams.
A host of small creatures including lizards, geckos, frogs, toads and the occasional snake which live in the varied habitats of the Steenkampsberg, provide nature lovers and hikers with a special spotting. The streams are home to indigenous minnows, catfish, and vleikurper. Introduced rainbow and brown trout thrive in the cold waters.
The Steenkampsberg owes its name to the Steenkamp family who settled in part of this district in 1847, after they and other Voortrekker families moved from Origstad to higher lying areas.