The Cape Floral Kingdom region is made up of 8 protected sites in the Western and Eastern Cape, altogether covering just over 550 000 hectares which is actually less than 0.5% of the African continent.
Even though the Cape Floral Kingdom occupies a tiny fraction of land at the bottom of Africa, it hosts almost 20% of all floras on the continent. Within this mind-bending statistic, the Cape Peninsula has the highest amount – almost half. The range of environments in which these plants grow is equally spectacular from soaring mountain ranges to arresting seaside havens.
The sheer number of plants, plant types and their uniqueness relative to the size of this region is extremely rare in the world – scientists have been blown away by it all. Fynbos plants in particular display really special qualities – they can survive fire and are masters at adaption with a number of amazing strategies. More than half of all the plants found in the Cape Floral Kingdom are not found anywhere else on earth.
The Cape Floral Region is legally protected and management plans are in place to continually address any issues. The biggest threats in the short term to this region are the encroachment of invasive plant species and fire. Long term, the region faces climate change issues and pressures as a result of development, with the Table Mountain National Park experiencing the greatest risk in this regard.
Flower Safari – take a walk on the wild side
You can visit a flora hotspot at any time of year and see beautiful fragrant Fynbos, but the top flowering season for wild flowers is in the late winter through to spring (July – October). South African nature reserves and national parks offer the perfect environment for a Flower Safari. The following destinations all offer excellent opportunities for viewing the flora and a range of other interesting activities.
Enjoy wonderful walks, hikes and trails (some with overnight accommodation on the mountain), cable-car rides, picnic sites, fishing, water sports, biking, hang gliding / paragliding, horse riding and climbing and seasonal Whale watching. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens form part of this national park in Cape Town.
The Langebaan Lagoon is at the heart of the West Coast National Park which is just over an hour's drive from Cape Town. See the beautiful wild flowers (usually in August and September), birdlife and wildlife, go on walks, hikes and trails, enjoy biking and water sports, picnic sites and Whale watching in season.
The nearest town to this West Coast reserve is Clanwilliam, which is about 1.5 hours drive from Cape Town. The Cederberg is known for its pristine and rugged beauty. Many walks, hikes and trails take in the scenic landmarks and Bushmen paintings of this mountain range, but you can also enjoy rock climbing and Donkey Cart Adventures.
The De Hoop coastal reserve is situated on the eastern shores of the Western Cape. This part of the Overberg region can be reached in 3 – 4 hours by car from Cape Town and the closest town is Bredasdorp. De Hoop is distinguished because of its marine reserve, exceptional flora and internationally recognised wetlands for birding. Activities include game drives, birding, guided walks, hikes and trails, snorkelling, rock pools, Whale watching in season and horse riding.
Baviaanskloof is situated near Patensie in the Eastern Cape Province (about 2 hours drive west of Port Elizabeth). You can enjoy a long drive through the reserve or camp overnight and enjoy the scenery and views. Rare flora and an array of wildlife can be seen here. Activities include walks, hikes and trails, rock climbing, biking, fishing, swimming, canoeing and birding.