• Preserving our Biodiversity

Conservation of Biodiversity

Conservation of biodiversity is protection, upliftment and scientific management of biodiversity so as to maintain it at its threshold level and derive sustainable benefits for the present and future generation….

By conserving biodiversity, we not only ensure that our surroundings are richer and more diverse, but also we secure the resources that will continue to provide improvements in the quality of human life.

All started in South Africa when, in 1995, South Africa signed the “United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity”. The development of a biodiversity policy for South Africa was therefore needed for the ratification of the Convention as a law. In 1996 the draft policy (Green Paper) was released as a discussion document for public comment. An extensive consultation with all interested and affected parties was held throughout the country, and more than 3000 organisations were briefed as interested and affected parties. In May 1997, the “White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biological Diversity” was published, amply discussed and gave birth to all our environmental laws.

All laws comply with the Vision, Mission and Principles of the White Paper, which:

… are underpinned and guided by South Africa’s new Constitution which provides within its Bill of Rights that everyone has the right:

a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and

b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that:

  • i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
  • ii) promote conservation; and
  • iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

The Crocodile River Reserve has been proclaimed as a Protected Area according to the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act of 2004 which provides for the protection and conservation of ecologically viable areas representative of South Africa’s biological diversity and its natural landscapes, seascapes and the management thereof.

The responsibility of conserving biodiversity has been given to more than a hundred landowners, who voluntarily committed to it. Whilst conservation of biodiversity is a responsibility of each single landowner who signed an agreement with the Government, the management of such responsibility and the implementation of collective efforts of conserving and protecting biodiversity has been transferred to the Grassland Stewardship Alliance by the landowners themselves. It is an Alliance which is as strong as it is open, informative, inclusive, socially conscious, guided, supported and sustainable. It is an Alliance which has accepted the Management responsibility as the Authority in conserving the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the Crocodile River Reserve and its buffer zone.

The conservation effectiveness of the Grassland Stewardship Alliance will be measured by its mentor and biodiversity controller, the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Biodiversity Stewardship.

Management’s effectiveness will be measured by its ability and success in implementing conservation measures.

The authority’s effectiveness will be measured by the responsible decisions the Grassland Stewardship Alliance will take when our biodiversity is endangered, and the degradation of any areas and irresponsible behaviour and illegal activities happen.

The Protected Areas [Environmental] Management Plan (PAMP), the collection of strategies and actions designed by the CRR landowners for maintaining and expanding the committed conservation of properties, will be published on this website.

It will include sections like:

  • Invasive and alien vegetation management
  • Fire management for conservation and protection (designed with the CRR Fire Protection Association)
  • Our rivers pollution management
  • Wildlife management
  • Environmental Education
  • Socio economic development
  • Environmental crime prevention
  • Alliance expansion and sustainability

And many other topics that the landowners have considered critical for honouring the contract they signed and brought the Crocodile River Reserve to be included in the National Protected Areas Register.

Want to know more about the Reserve?

Browse our articles on the flora and fauna found in the Reserve below

Ball Python has a snuggle

A Talk By the Jhb Wildlife Vet at the Reserve

Over 40 people attended the Urban Wildlife talk by the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital and Rehabilitation Facility. This event was held on Sunday the 18th April 2021. Everyone involved deemed it an absolute hit. It was wonderful to see the number of children in the audience who participated with great enthusiasm!
April 20, 2021/by admin
Tree Walk in the Crocodile River Reserve

A Successful Tree Walk in March 2021

The Tree Walk held in the Crocodile River Reserve offered an insightful and easy to understand introduction to the day, starting with the structure of leaves and how to use this to identify a tree. What followed was a walk through the beautiful veld of the Reserve during which we identified a variety of trees - such as the fascinating underground tree Lannae Aedulis, the Diospyros Lycioides (Blue Bush), the common but beautiful Acacia Karroo (Sweet Thorn) and the Protea Caffra Trees but to name a few.
March 24, 2021/by admin
Large Sourplum

Large Sourplum

The ripe fruits of the Ximenia Caffra or Sourplum are eaten by birds such as barbets, bulbuls and starlings and mammals such as giraffe, impala, kudu, grey duiker, steenbok, bushbuck and eland enjoy eating it's leaves. The larvae of a number of butterflies feed on the leaves, some examples being the Bush Scarlet butterfly, Natal and Silvery bar, Bowker's and Saffron sapphire and the Brown playboy.
February 24, 2021/by admin
Lannea Edulis

Lannea Edulis

Lannea edulis has shiny green leaves that are hairy when young and leathery when matured, with creamy white flowers from August to October. It bears bright red ovoid berries from October to December that become purplish black when they become ripe, which have a juicy and pleasantly sour flavour and are eaten by mice, birds and humans.
February 23, 2021/by admin
Buffalo Thorn Tree

Buffalo Thorn Tree

The Buffalo Thorn Tree is widely used for magical and medicinal purposes because of the spines or thorns, which are paired; One is hooked, and the other is straight. According to Nguni legend, the thorns of the Ziziphus tell us something about ourselves - that we must look ahead to the future (straight thorns) but we must never forget where we have come from (hooked thorns).
February 23, 2021/by admin

Our first post-lockdown scorpion walk

After months in lock-down, it was a joy to get back outdoors and into nature, as our creepy crawly expert, Jonathan Leeming, shared fascinating facts about why all arachnids should be treated with respect rather than fear.
October 12, 2020/by admin
A Cape Skink in the Crocodile River Reserve by Anthony Stewien

Cape Skink

The Cape skink is live-bearing and the female may take up to a week to birth her litter of offspring - often between 8 and 18 per brood. Each baby is born in a thin, membranous bag or 'shell' that it breaks out of within seconds. Newborns measure measure 5 to 7 cm.
April 7, 2020/by admin


The blesbok or blesbuck has a distinctive white face and forehead which inspired the name, because bles is the Afrikaans word for a blaze such as one might see on the forehead of a horse.
March 15, 2020/by admin

Black-Backed Jackal

The Black-Backed Jackal is a wonderfully resourceful scavenger and cleans up all the offal and remains of dead animals when not dining on scrub hares, mongoose, mice, rats, lizards and snakes.
March 15, 2020/by admin
Brown House Snake

Brown House Snake

The Brown House Snake, is one of the most common and most useful snakes in South Africa. It is attracted to human dwellings where it feeds on rats, mice and lizards. They are not venomous and are completely harmless to humans. House snakes are powerful constrictors which rely on their muscle power to constrict prey.
March 15, 2020/by admin
Handling Tortoises

Handling Tortoises

Tortoises store water in a cloacal bursa or sack in the rear of the body for use when required. They will also excrete this water supply as a defence against predators [or humans!] and to dampen dry soil when digging holes in which to lay eggs. If you pick up a tortoise trying to survive in very dry conditions it may excrete its valuable water supply, resulting in the eventual death of the animal.
February 9, 2020/by admin
Bullfrog in Laezonia

Giant Bullfrog

The Giant African Bullfrog is among the largest frogs, with males weighing up to 1.4 kg. It is an insatiable carnivore, eating insects, small rodents, reptiles, small birds, and other amphibians.
February 1, 2020/by admin
Crinum Bulbispernum

Crinum Bulbispernum

The Crinum lily is a large bulbous plant up to 1m high, which produces attractive grey green gracefully arching leaves during the summer months, and is often seen in the Crocodile River Reserve.
January 8, 2020/by admin
Pachycarpus Schinzianus

Pachycarpus Schinzianus

Pachycarpus schinzianus is also known as Creamcup or Bitterwortel, and is a rough-textured, erect perennial which grows between 0.3 and 0.6 m tall. Every spring it resprouts from an underground rootstock.
January 8, 2020/by admin
Chacma Baboon from Wikimedia by Charles J Sharp

Chacma Baboon

Baboons are omnivorous with the bulk of their diet including fruit, seeds, insects, bulbs and any small poor helpless bird or mammal that they can catch.
January 8, 2020/by admin
Black-Collared Barbet by Bernard DUPONT

Black-Collared Barbet

The Black-Collared Barbet or Lybius Torquatus is also known as the Rooikophoutkapper and is one of the most common barbets in Africa, occurring from the DRC to Kenya and southern Africa.
January 7, 2020/by admin
Black-Crowned Tchagra by Albert Froneman

Black-Crowned Tchagra

This bird of the Crocodile River Reserve tends to favour the northern mountain bushveld. The black forehead and crown differentiate this Tchagra from other Tchagras. It is also a larger, bolder bird and is more conspicuous in its behaviour.
January 7, 2020/by admin
Barn Owl by E Stockenstroom

Barn Owl

The Barn Owl has earned itself the nickname ‘ghost owl’ because of its pale plumage and chilling call. This creature is one of the most widely distributed bird species in the world, and the superstition surrounding it has been unwittingly passed down from generation to generation. These superstitions have led to the senseless and cruel killing of these birds over the decades, however, farmers and enlightened city-folk hold these splendid birds in high regard, because they protect crops by feeding on rats, mice and birds.
January 7, 2020/by admin
African Finfoot by Eric Stockenstroom

African Finfoot

The African Finfoot or Watertrapper, (Podica senegalensis) is a very rare and vulnerable bird species.  The Afrikaans name for the African Finfoot is "Watertrapper".
The African Finfoot is about the size and shape of a large cormorant. 
January 7, 2020/by admin
Themeda Triandra

Themeda Triandra Grass

One of the species regarded as the most valuable grass in sourveld is Themeda triandra. Also known as Red Grass, it grows abundantly when the veld is in good condition.
December 18, 2019/by admin

Identification of Grasses

Some grasses have stems which grow along the surface of the ground, and result in new shoots. These horizontal stems are called STOLONS. If the horizontal stems are below the ground, they are called RHIZOMES.
November 27, 2019/by admin
A field of bristle-leaved red top grass, also called Melinis Nerviglumis

Bristle-Leaved Red Top Grass

It is easy to confuse the Bristle Leaved Red Top grass with the Natal Red Top if not for one thing: the Natal Red Top grows in disturbed soil (a pioneer), while the Bristle-leaved red top is an indicator of undisturbed veld.
November 6, 2019/by admin