ABSTRACT Producing biofuels such as ethanol from non-food plant material has the potential to meet transportation fuel requirements in many African countries without impacting directly on food security. The current shortcomings in biomass processing are inefficient fermentation of plant sugars, such as xylose, especially at high temperatures, lack of fermenting microbes that are able to resist inhibitors associated with pre-treated plant material and lack of effective lignocellulolytic enzymes for complete hydrolysis of plant polysaccharides. Due to the presence of residual partially degraded lignocellulose in the gut, the dung of herbivores can be considered as a natural source of pre-treated lignocellulose. A total of 101 fungi were isolated (36 yeast and 65 mould isolates). Six yeast isolates produced ethanol during growth on xylose while three were able to grow at 42 °C. This is a desirable growth temperature as it is closer to that which is used during the cellulose hydrolysis process. From the yeast isolates, six isolates were able to tolerate 2 g/L acetic acid and one tolerated 2 g/L furfural in the growth media. These inhibitors are normally generated during the pre-treatment step. When grown on pre-treated thatch grass, Aspergillus species were dominant in secretion of endo-glucanase, xylanase and mannanase.