Polystachya transvaalensis is a slender epiphyte, occasionally a lithophyte, growing to 30 cm.
The South African distribution of the species lies in the northeast of the country, in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Across the border the distribution continues to tropical East Africa.
The habitat is cool mist-belt forests, where these orchids growing on trees and rocks at elevations from 1200 m to 2400 m. The species is not considered to be threatened in its habitat early in the twenty first century.
There was a time when this plant used to be known as P. natalensis (Pooley, 1998; www.orchidspecies.com; www.redlist.sanbi.org).