Van Stadens River
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|Van Stadens River|
|Eastern Cape, South Africa|
|0 m (0 ft)|
The river was named after Marthinus van Staden, one of the area’s pioneering farmers. He was also among the first to plot a rudimentary track through the valley.
The geology of the Van Stadens catchments is primarily derived from rock of the mid-Palaeozoic Era that formed the Table Mountain Group of the Cape Supergroup. The upper to middle catchment areas are characterised by high gradients indicative of steep gorges. Along the river, nutrient concentrations are naturally low. This is a result of the steep topography that prevents human activity like farming which would disturb the natural processes. The Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve situated upstream and this nature conservancy has kept the level of nutrient input low. The Van Stadens River estuary is 0.52 km2 when the river mouth is closed and the water level is at maximum height.
Van Stadens Bridge
Flora and Fauna
The river’s catchment area is lush, making it ideal for many species of plants throughout the year. With two [biomes] adjacent to each other, fynbos and forest, the area is diverse in unique plant and animal life.
The area’s fynbos supports populations of proteas, ericas and orchidaceae. Endemic to the area, aster laevigatus was first discovered in 1902 and then re-discovered after a mountain fire almost a century later. The Van Stadens River gorge is home to the largest population in the world of sterculia alexandri (known as the Cape star chestnut). Adjacent to the N2 national road to Cape Town and 25 km west of Port Elizabeth is the Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve. The reserve was established in 1951, making it the oldest in the South Africa to provide a sanctuary for indigenous flora and fauna.
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