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Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo Protected Environment

The protected environment is situated in the Eastern Cape and falls between 4 towns namely; Graaff-Reinet, Nieu-Bethesda, Cradock and Pearston. It was proclaimed in 2016 for the purpose of maintaining the landscape in terms of its scenic, biodiversity and landscape value through collective action by the private landowners and to protect the area from detrimental developments. The protected environment is located in a transitional area between four biomes: Grassland, Nama Karoo, Thicket and Savanna. All of the major vegetation types are currently very poorly conserved elsewhere in South Africa. Being a transition area between biomes allows for an interesting mix of flora and fauna, as well as important ecological and landscape processes. Climate change, detrimental development, mining, inappropriate historical management of herbivores, and the risk of fire present the biggest threats to the protected environment’s vital attributes.

The Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo Protected Environment was declared on the 1st of April 2016 by the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr B E E Molewa.

The Protected Environment shares the Vision of “Conservation through Collaboration” aimed at working together to protect the current land uses of the area and in time promote best land-use practices.

Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo Protected Environment is currently 268 343Ha large and is made up of 118 privately owned farms. Land use in the area is focused on the grazing of game and stock for agricultural and/or ecotourism use.

Why protect this area?

  • Falls within a transitional area between 4 biomes and includes 6 under-conserved vegetation types including the highly important high altitudinal grasslands
  • Falls within the Sneeuberg center of endemism
  • Identified as a globally important birding area
  • Home to a number of rare, endangered and/or endemic species
  • Forms part of the very important meat and fiber industry
  • Falls within a unique landscape with high tourism value


The Protected Environment is currently partnered with South African National Parks and works closely with both Camdeboo and Mountain Zebra National Parks.

Mountain Zebra-Camdeboo Protected Environment is managed according to a management plan approved by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and managed by the MZCPE Landowner’s Association (the management authority of the Protected Environment).

The plan strives to:

  • Keep abreast of threats to the area and its land use and participate in mitigation of these threats;
  • Increase the Protected Area estate through consolidation and expansion programmes;
  • Rehabilitate priority habitats affected by alien invasive species and soil erosion;
  • Rehabilitate priority wetlands, rivers and catchments vital to the functioning of the area;
  • Conserve species of special concern;
  • Manage fire as a risk to the area;
  • Promote tourism within the protected environment;
  • Keep abreast of risks and opportunities to agriculture and ecotourism in the area;
  • Build good working relationships between relevant organizations and individuals;
  • Contribute the local socio-economic development of the area;
  • Conserve and manage key cultural and heritage assets;
  • Promote and implement legal development practices within the Protected Environment; and
  • Ensure the Protected Environment is financially sustainable and practice good governance.


Within the Protected Environment, a number of exciting projects have been identified. These projects form the Concept Development Framework of the management plan. Projects are run by working groups under the MZCPE Landowners Association with each working group partnering with relevant organisations and/or individuals who can add value to the planning and implementation of these projects.

Projects include:

  • Species projects;
  • Collective tourism ventures; and
  • Adventure activities

Interested in becoming a member?

The Protected Environment is looking at expanding and consolidating the Protected Area estate. Membership is completely voluntary and is open to properties falling within its expansion footprint.

Read here for more:

For further details, please contact:

Buffer Zone Co-ordinator: Camdeboo National Park

  • Postal Address: PO Box 349, Graaff Reinett, 6280
  • Telephone: +27 (0)49 892 3453
  • Cell : +27 (0)71 272 5784
  • Fax: +27 (0)86 605 7083
  • Email: [email protected]

Map – Project Footprint

Camdeboo - Mountain Zebra Corridor Project Footprint