South Africa boasts a world of plants that are both fascinating and beautiful. These range from the fine grasses of the Free State Province and scrubby bushes of the Karoo Region to the dense greenery of the Garden Route forests and the mountain plains of the country's inland.

South Africa is home to more than 22 000 indigenous seed plants from almost 230 different families. It is also the proud home of 10% of the world's flowering species, making it a major contributor to the global ecological scene.

The diversity and abundance of South African plants is impressive, and is one of the reasons that South Africa is such a popular tourist destination. The flora acts as the natural habitat for the many different animal species that call South Africa home, and is a key contributing agent for the biodiversity and ecological health and wealth of this land.

Some of the plants, particularly succulents, have long been used for their medicinal qualities by the indigenous folk that have roamed the South African plains for centuries. Over time, they learnt what was edible and what was poisonous, which South African plants could cure and soothe, and which could cause harm. Today, many of these floral species are still used, albeit to a lesser degree, by the traditional folk for their medicinal value.

Important Floristic Regions

Cape Floral Region

Particularly significant as it forms one of only six floristic regions in the world. Although it only occupies 0.08% of the earth's surface area, it is home to 3% of its plants and 20% of the flora of the African continent. Many of these are fynbos species, which are endemic to South Africa. Known for ...

Namaqualand Region

Every year, it is transformed from a scrubby, even arid, landscape to a region that is blanketed by colourful wild flowers of every shade, shape and size. Formal tours of the region showcase the beauty to perfection and allow visitors to experience the true splendour of our wildest floral species ...

Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve

The Baviaanskloof Wilderness is an incredibly scenic gorge that lies between two sets of mountain ranges - the Baviaanskloof and the Kouga mountains. It is an area of 'outstanding natural beauty' because of its incredible land forms, diverse display of plants, and animals ...

Richtersveld Botanical Landscape

Inscribed as a South African World Heritage Sites in June 2007, the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape is a remarkable mountainous desert in the north-west of the country. It is a land of extreme temperatures characterised by a harsh, dry landscape ...


Due to the very varied climates and topography of South Africa, it is able to support a number of biomes. Nine of these have formally been identified; namely:

  1. Fynbos
  2. Succulent Karoo
  3. Desert
  4. Nama-Karoo
  5. Grassland
  6. Savanna
  7. Albany Thicket
  8. Forests
  9. Indian Ocean Coastal Belt

Horticultural Travel in South Africa

Start planning your horticultural exploration of South Africa here. Accommodation on is presented complete with reviews, photo galleries and online booking functionality, but allows you to deal directly with each establishment represented. You will be spoilt for choice as the options for accommodation in South Africa are varied and include excellent hotels, lodges, guest houses, smaller B&Bs and and many self catering options for you to choose from, such as holiday homes, cottages and apartments. Enjoy your travel planning.

Plant Life
South Africa. Explore. Experience. Stay® has been assisting travellers with their South Africa travel plans since 1999, and is the largest, independent online travel guide for South Africa available in both English and German.