Fauna of Meiringspoort

Baboon with Baby Meiringspoort De Rust

Meiringspoort forms part of the Swartberg Nature Reserve with private farms like Meijer Rust and Varkenskraal.

Animals vary from small rodents like field mice, to the shy cape leopard.

Dassies are found on the rocky slopes. In the water or close by you will find water mongoose. Klipspringers are found on higher slopes and kudu especially in the northern part of the Poort. At dusk or early morning you should be careful when driving in Meiringspoort because wildlife is abundant. Baboons can be seen close to the road. You will also be able to see caracal, Cape clawless otter, grysbok or large spotted genet at daybreak or dusk.

The birds of Meiringspoort have totally adapted to the environment in which they live.

Birds to be seen:

Cape bunting, Cape rock thrush, Cape wagtail,
Lesser double-collared sunbird, Malachite sunbird,
Black eagle, Rock pigeon, Cape turtledove, Laughing dove, Cape bulbul, Karoo pinia, Red-winged starling, Cape white-eye, Alpine swift, Greater striped swallows,

About 76 species of birds can be seen in Meiringspoort.

Three species of fish can be found in the Grootrivier that runs through Meiringspoort. The Cape kurper and two scarce, endangered red fin species, the small- scaled red- finned minnow and the slender red-finned minnow.

No alien fish are to be found in the Poort. This is mainly to protect these three species.

Apart from dragonflies and a variety of butterflies, some of the world’s most interesting beetle species are also to be found on the higher peaks of Meiringspoort. The Colophon Stag beetles or Cape Stag beetles or Barnard’s Stag beetles are all endangered species in South Africa.

So if you see Colophon berrisfordi, cassoni or whitei please leave them alone!

One butterfly the Acraea horta species is common in Meiringspoort during spring and summer. Its larvae feed on the leaves of the wild peach (Kiggelaria africana) trees where they accumulate a poisonous substance (Cyanide).

This poison makes the mature butterflies unpalatable to most birds. The mature butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers (E.g. wild geranium – Pelargonium zonale) and pollinate them in the process. In the Swartberg above Meiringspoort you will also find Chrysoritis Pyranus balli or Ball’s Opal.