Grazing at Tienie Versfeld Reserve – January 2022

Tienie Versfeld Nature Reserve is a small nature reserve off the R315 in between Darling and Yzerfontein.  The 22 hectare site was originally part of a now neighbouring farm and was donated to the Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) by the then owner Mr. Marthinus (Tienie) Versfeld.  His sister, Muriel was a founding member of the Darling Wildflower Society in the early 1900’s.   

Tienie Versfeld Nature Reserve is managed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and is associated with the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.  The Swartland renosterveld vegetation is endangered and protected by national law.  The reserve is a seasonal wetland which is one of the most threatened vegetation types in the world.  A number of the species present are endemic to the region and are listed internationally as threatened. 

Darling Wine Cup / Kelkiewyen. Photographer: Wilfred Duckitt, Oudepost Farm – Darling

Livestock grazing in fynbos and renosterveld has been a controversial topic for many years.  It is no secret that incorrect and over-grazing of renosterveld has resulted in the loss of biodiversity and in some cases completely transformed the composition of plant species present.  However many years ago larger herbivores such as eland, bontebok and zebra freely roamed and grazed the Swartland renosterveld. Today there are no large free roaming wild herbivores and if applied correctly grazing of fynbos and renosterveld has proven to be beneficial. 

The practice livestock grazing to assist with the distribution of seeds has been used as a management tool at Tienie Versfeld for many years and has proven to be beneficial when applied and managed correctly. 

Grazing in the Tienie Versfeld reserve is overseen by the Darling Wildflower Society.  The grazing capacity (amount of animals that can be kept) and the stocking rate (amount of animals the land can really support) are taken into consideration and are monitored. 

Grazing in Tienie Versfeld is planned for January 2022.   Any questions or concerns can be directed to the Darling Wildflower Society chairperson at info@darlingwildflowers.co.za

Snotrosie / Dew flower Photographer: Wilfred Duckitt, Oudepost Farm – Darling

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