The vast landscape of flat land, high mountains and coastal dips makes the region an ideal habitat consisting of different species of bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian.
The vegetation in the Overberg is not just a beautiful sight but also forms part of an essential habitat for animals and birds. The vegetation is for some animals their sole food-source for example the Grysbok, which is a small antelope.
Visitors will be delighted to know that they will encounter many animal species when out on hikes or mountain biking in the reserves. Sometimes small animals even venture into town!
Baboons are widespread in the region and caution must be undertaken when they are near - do not disturb or approach them. The Parrot beaked tortoise and the small Southern adder are both endemic to the Overberg, while the area provides a blissful environment for the Klipspringer family. Porcupine, Genet and Hare are shy animals and rarely seen, so if you do spot them take lots of photos!
In the coastal areas the penguin colony at Betty’s Bay Stony Point is a firm favourite with tourists, not to mention the whales and dolphins that frequent the coastline.
Birdwatching is a great pastime in the Overberg with species such as the Cape Sugar Bird, Sunbirds, Rock Thrushes and Rock Jumpers most commonly spotted. There are many Raptors to be seen, including Jackal Buzzards and Black Eagles. The Blue Crane is endemic to the Overberg and is often seen.
Wetlands are common place, with their complex ecosystems in place they are the perfect breeding ground for unusual plants and animals, including the endangered “Microfrog” found on the Agulhas Plain.
Visitors must not forget that they are sharing the open spaces of this region with a few hidden critters. If contact is made with those poisonous ones then a visit to the doctor should be ensured. Some examples are as follows:
Ticks – a very small arachnid that survives on the blood of mammals and birds. At the end of your walk or hike in the bush remember to check your clothes and body for them. If found, gently remove and disinfect the area. Some ticks are carriers of diseases that induce tick bite fever therefore caution must be taken if bitten by a tick and you have signs of a fever.
Sac Spiders – their bite is quite toxic and although not initially painful, it does become so after a few days. If bitten, antibiotics will need to be administered.
Black Widow Spiders – the bites are very painful and symptoms start to show shortly afterwards. In this case the best option would be to get help and be taken to the nearest hospital to be treated with anti-venom.
Scorpions – if a scorpion has a thick tail and small pinchers it is highly venomous. In this case again, a hospital visit is advised as anti-venom would need to be administered.
Snakes – the most common and dangerous snakes found in the region is the puff adder, cape cobra and boomslang. They also happen to be three of the most dangerous snakes in South Africa. Never approach any snake and if bitten stay calm and head straight to the nearest hospital.