Fynbos and the Cape Floral Kingdom

Striking fynbos. Photo courtesy Andrew Moir

Fynbos: — n
"a type of vegetation unique to the Mediterranean-climate region of southern and southwestern South Africa, characterized by evergreen hard-leaved shrubs and almost no trees". Meaning “fine bush”, fynbos is a unique and strikingly beautiful group of flora endemic to a small section of the Western Cape of South Africa.

the smallest of the floral kingdoms

There are only six floral kingdoms in the world, and fynbos not only constitutes one kingdom (the smallest) all on its own, but is the only one occurring entirely within one country.

Fynbos has more diversity of species than a tropical rainforest. There are 9 000 species of fynbos occurring in the Cape area, and over 2 000 species on Table Mountain alone – which is more plant species than occur in the whole United Kingdom.

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Proteas, South Africa’s national flower (and the name of our national cricket team), are part of the fynbos family, as is rooibos, a plant increasing in international popularity as a herbal tea.

In 2004 the Cape Floral Region, constituting of a number of protected areas covering more than 550 000 hectares, was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. 

You can see and walk in fynbos in many areas in and around Cape Town, including on the slopes and top of Table Mountain, at Cape Point, in the Kirstenbosch National Botanic Garden, and in the Silvermine Nature Reserve.

Aloe are just one of the many species of flora that can be found at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy of Derek Keats

This species of Erica flowers all year round. Photo courtesy of Gravitywave

According to Indian legend, the water lily was once a star. Photo courtesy of riverside mc

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Cango Caves

29km from Oudtshoorn, at the head of the picturesque Cango Valley, lies the spectacular underground wonder of the Klein Karoo - the Cango Caves. Situated in a limestone ridge parallel to the well-known Swartberg Mountains, you will find the finest dripstone caverns, with their vast halls and towering formations.

Southern Suburbs

The Southern Suburbs are a tourist’s delight. The area, which stretches from the slopes of the Table Mountain range to the False Bay coast, offers natural attractions and a vibrant nightlife.

St James

Just a little further on from Cape Town’s well-known Muizenberg beach is St James. Home to a cluster of well-known and oft-photographed bathing boxes on the beach, St James is a picturesque area that offers beachgoers respite from the westerly wind.

Llandudno and Sandy Bay

Only 18km from the Cape Town city centre, an arc of fine white sand gives away the secluded location of one of Cape Town’s most beautiful beaches, Llandudno.


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