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In Numbers

Stretching from the east to the west of the Western Cape, the Langeberg water source area supplies water to Swellendam, Barrydale and Heidelberg.

Size: 208 683 ha

Main Rivers

The Breede, Gouritz, Doring, Duiwenhoks, and Naroo rivers flow from the Langeberg water source area.

Did You Know?

  • The Langeberg mountains were home to the Khoi and San, evident by the rock art left behind.
  • In the Langeberg Mountains heated groundwater, driven up from several thousand meters below the earth’s surface, bubbles out of the ground as hot springs. These are found at Calitzdorp, Montagu and Warmwaterberg.
  • A Ramsar Site, De Hoop Vlei (within De Hoop Nature Reserve) falls within the Langeberg water source area.


Land Use (in %)

  • Mining 0.01%
  • Wetlands 2.51%
  • Urban 0.35%
  • Cultivation (irrigated) 1.93%
  • Waterbodies 0.29%
  • Plantation/Woodlot 2.32%
  • Cultivation (dryland) 19.42%
  • Natural 73.18%

60% Protected Areas

Approximately 60% of the Langeberg Mountains water source area is protected. This includes one national park, three mountain catchment areas, nine forest protected areas and three provincial nature reserves. The Bontebok National Park, Grootvaderbosch Nature Reserve and Boosmansbos Wilderness Area are within this water source area.

  • 1
  • 3
  • 9
  • 3
  • 1

Threat Status

  • River Ecosystems
  • Wetland Ecosystems

River Ecosystems

Approximately 73% of this water source remains in natural condition. However, 68% of its river ecosystems are critically endangered.

  • 68% Critically Endangered
  • 32% Least Threatened

Wetland Ecosystems

Up to 69% of wetland ecosystems in Langeberg are critically endangered.

  • 69% Critically Endangered
  • 11% Endangered
  • 20% Least Threatened


Langeberg is currently well protected (60%). Nevertheless 68% of its river ecosystems are critically endangered. Importantly, approximately 20% of this area is under cultivation. What legal or management mechanisms can protect and restore these river ecosystems, in landscapes comprised of a mix of private and public land ownership?

Interactive Map

South Africa has 22 water source areas spread across five provinces (KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo). The total size of our water source areas is 12.32 million hectares. A number of these areas extend and are shared with Lesotho and Swaziland; approximately 1.91 million hectares in Lesotho and 0.93 million hectares in Swaziland.

The total volume of water supplied by these areas per year is approximately 2 457 million cubic metres. The greatest volume of recharge is generated by the Southern Drakensberg, followed by the Eastern Cape Drakensberg and the Boland Mountains.