The magnificent Cape Floristic Region is, as its name implies, situated in the Western Cape and parts of the Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. It is significant for being one of the world’s most diverse and abundant floral areas, home to about one-fifth of the vegetation in all of Africa. Perched right at the tip of the continent, this region is not only fascinating for those with a penchant for flora, but also spectacular.

Did you know? In addition to its vegetation, the Cape Floristic Region naturally showcases many of the animals for which South Africa is acclaimed. These range from insects to predators and everything in-between, making their homes in the varied landscape on offer.

The natural wealth of the floral kingdom is particularly impressive if one considers that it only covers about 78 555 square kilometres. As such, it is the smallest of all six recognised floristic kingdoms known to man. Still, it boasts more than 9 600 species of South African plants including ferns, trees, flowers, mosses and fynbos varieties, of which 69% are endemic.

A large proportion of this vegetation is included under the Fynbos umbrella. This is a beautiful, hardy group of plants (most of which bear lovely flowers) that creates a shrub land where it is found in abundance. Due to its being unique to South Africa and stunning to witness in the wild, Fynbos has become somewhat of a tourist attraction in its own right.

The entire Cape Floral Kingdom is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for ...
1) its outstanding processes in terms of ecology and biology, which is particularly due to the Fynbos biome, and
2) its sheer diversity and abundance within such a confined area.

In terms of the processes, this area has exhibited plants that have become adapted in their manner of fire resistance, as well as to the patterns of seed dispersal undertaken by various insects. With regard to its biodiversity, there are approximately nine species per genus and 52 different plant families. The species density is the highest in the world, making it one of only 18 biodiversity hotspots on the planet.

A number of mountain ranges are included in the Cape Floristic Region. These include the iconic Table Mountain as well as the Tsitsikamma, Outeniqua, Cederberg, Hottentots Holland and Zuurberg ranges.

The Cape Floristic Region includes eight representative areas, all of which enjoy similar protection.

The eight representative areas are...

1. The Table Mountain National Park (this region alone is home to more floral species than the whole of New Zealand)
2. The Cederberg Wilderness Area
3. The Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area
4. The Boland Mountain Complex (this includes the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve, Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, and Limietberg Nature Reserve)
5. The De Hoop Nature Reserve
6. The Boosmansbos Wilderness Area
7. The Swartberg Complex (which comprises the Swartberg Nature Reserve, Gamkapoort Nature Reserve, and Towerkop Nature Reserve)
8. The Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve

Significantly, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens form part of this site, making them the first of their kind to be included in a floristic region by UNESCO.

This region is also made special and unique by its inclusion of freshwater and marine environments, which add significantly to its biodiversity.

In addition to its vegetation, the Cape Floristic Region naturally showcases many of the animals for which South Africa is acclaimed. These range from insects to predators and everything in-between, making their homes in the varied landscape on offer.

For additional info see: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1007 (UNESCO).

The Cape Floral Region includes eight representative areas

Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve

Overnight? Baviaanskloof Accommodation
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 ...

Boland Mountain Complex

Overnight? Stellenbosch Accommodation
The Boland Mountain Complex includes the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve, Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, and Limietberg Nature Reserve. About 40 km to the east of Cape Town, ...

Boosmansbos Wilderness Area

Overnight? Swellendam Accommodation
Boosmansbos Wilderness Area lies in the beautiful Langeberg Mountains, over 14 000 hectares that is, in turn, part of the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve. It is regarded as a hiker's domain, a great space in which to scale peaks to reach views that are ...

Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

Overnight? Simons Town Accommodation
This is Cape Town's famous penguin colony. Found just beyond Simon's Town on an idyllic strip of white sand served with enormous boulders, the beach is a paying one. Once through the turnstiles you and the penguins have equal share of the waters, ...

Cederberg Wilderness Area

Overnight? Cederberg Accommodation
The Cederberg Wilderness Area lies some 200 km north of Cape Town. This vast area stretches from the Middelberg Pass at Citrusdal to north of the Pakhuis Pass at Clanwilliam, encompassing some 71 000 ha of rugged, mountainous terrain. The Cederberg was ...

De Hoop Nature Reserve

Overnight? De Hoop Accommodation
The De Hoop Nature Reserve is approximately 34 000 ha in size and one of the largest natural areas managed by Cape Nature Conservation. It is a favourite destination for hikers, cyclists, bird watchers and during the winter and early summer months, whale ...

Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area

Overnight? Porterville Accommodation
Groot Winterhoek Wilderness area, with its extraordinary rock formations and popular hiking routes, lies about 120 km north of Cape Town in the Western Cape. The Reserve is situated in the Groot Winterhoek mountain range, north of Tulbagh and east of ...

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Overnight? Newlands Accommodation
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is world renowned for the beauty and diversity of the Cape flora it displays and for the magnificence of its setting against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Kirstenbosch grows only indigenous South African ...

Swartberg Mountain Complex

Overnight? Uniondale Accommodation
The Swartberg Mountain Complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of only six botanical kingdoms on earth. This is no mean feat, considering that it only occupies 0.04% of the surface of the earth, which testifies ...

Table Mountain National Park

Overnight? Cape Town Central Accommodation
At the south-western tip of South Africa, the Table Mountain National Park encompasses the incredibly scenic Peninsula mountain chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south, a distance of approximately 60 km. The narrow ...

Where to enjoy Cape Floral Region

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