Temperate Forest South Africa

Need info on the temperate forest of South Africa? Learn more about the unique coastal rainforest and temperate South African forests…

The temperate forest of South Africa lies in the Knysna-Amatole coastal region and is known as the Knysna Forest Biome, close to Nature’s Valley in the Tsitsikamma region of South Africa.

The South African temperate forests are rainforests and are considered part of the Knysna Amatole forests that lie along the famous Garden Route in between Cape Town and Durban. In South Africa the temperate rain forests are located in the Drakensberg Mountains on the south facing slopes, which lie on the side facing the Indian Ocean.
Among the plant life that thrives here, the largest majority is that of coniferous podocarps. That is mainly because of the large amount of fog and moisture that the Indian Ocean brings in with the land sweeping winds. The ecosystem is similar to other global temperate rain forests and also resembles the montane evergreen Afromontane forests. These are found at higher elevations East and South Africa.

One of the most beautiful South African temperate forests is found in Tsitsikamma National Park in South Africa.

Another ecosystem is found in the Knysna-Amatole Montane forests. It is considered as a broadleaf and subtropical moist forest region in South Africa. Covering about 1200 mi.² in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces in South Africa, it is set in a beautiful environment. It is perhaps the smallest ecosystem in South Africa and has two independent enclaves. The forest in Knysna covers the coastal area located between 22°E and 25°E, which lies roughly along 34ºS in the territory known as the Garden Route. The coastal forest region known as KwaZulu-Cape is located along the Northeast coast. After that the mountainous forests of the Amatole are found inland and are approximately 400 km eastward from the Knysna forest.

Climatic Conditions of Temperate Forests in South Africa

The climatic conditions in this area are subtropical and warm-temperate. The rainfall continues throughout the year and ranges between 525 mm to 1220 mm annually in the Knysna forest and 750 mm to 1500 mm in the Amatole mountain forests, these being at higher levels.

There are different types of trees that range from the afromontane and tropical collection. These include the unique varieties of Stinkwood, Ironwood, Real Yellowwood, Outeniqua Yellowwood, Cape Holly, Cape beech, White Pear, Bastard Saffron, Kamassi, White Alder, Cape Plane and the Red Alder among others.

The Fauna in the Temperate Rain Forest in South Africa

Home to the amazing and graceful African Elephant, the Bushbuck and the African leopard, these rainforests have unique features native to the area. Other wildlife includes the blue duiker and bush pig along with different mammals. There are not only reptiles and amphibians, but an assortment of amazing birds that make their homes in the dense foliage of the rainforest. Even the insects are unique and sometimes very large when it comes to this area.

Human Use and Forest Conservation

Even though very small in terms of size, both the forests of Knysna and Amatole are the largest individual temperate rain forests in South Africa. The former forest has been exploited for timber since the 18th century and the latter since the 20th century. Even though they are protected and managed areas, timber logging is still allowed.


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