In the face of climate change, identification of forage species suitable for dryland farming under low rainfall conditions in South Africa is needed. Currently, there are only a limited number of forage species suitable for dryland farming under such conditions. The objective of this study was to identify and prioritise native legume species that could potentially be used in dryland farming systems in water-limited agro-ecosystems in South Africa. Using a combination of ecological niche modelling techniques, plant functional traits, and indigenous knowledge, 18 perennial herbaceous or stem-woody legume species were prioritised for further evaluation as potential fodder species within water-limited agricultural areas. These species will be evaluated further for their forage quality and their ability to survive and produce enough biomass under water limitation and poor edaphic conditions.