This generation – as many before it – seeks solace from the mountains. We grow, extract, consume, enjoy and manipulate their resources to meet our needs. And we press up against the Magaliesberg Mountains, inevitably leaving our mark. The solid quartzite ridge of the Magaliesberg can endure for centuries without us. But, the ecosystems draped over, into and around the mountains do require protection against inappropriate exploitation and encroachment.
The Magaliesberg mountain range symbolises the beginning of life on earth in an extraordinary manner. The range, standing sentinel over the birthplace of man - the Cradle of Humankind - demarcates more than a physical boundary. This extraordinary natural feature is a timepiece. Embedded in the rock formation is a timeline marking the first lifeless land mass, the tides of a shallow inland sea, the earliest life form, and the upheavals and shifts of a forming continent. These mountains are linked to the long history of the many cultures and clans that have lived on the foothills.
The Magaliesberg Biosphere initiative sets out to ensure that the valuable ecosystems and heritage resources of the region are used and retained in a manner that safeguards their permanent availability to all mankind into the future.
The Magaliesberg Biosphere is managed in three zones:
The Core Zone is the proclaimed Magaliesberg Protected Environment. It is legally protected under the National Environmental Management Protected Areas Act (Act 57 of 2003). It includes the iconic Magaliesberg mountain range and has been divided in terms of the Magaliesberg Environmental Management Framework into areas regarded as “sensitive”, “highly sensitive” and “exceptional conservation value”.
The Buffer Zone includes areas abutting the Core Zone where people live and work and enjoy recreational benefits of the region while at the same time, taking care to conserve and sustain the invaluable landscapes, ecosystems and heritage sites.
The Transition Zone includes all of the surrounding areas where human activity and land uses may include towns, industries, mines and agriculture. The potential impacts of those land uses and activities need to be understood and managed so as not to compromise the integrity of the Core and Buffer Zones.