The Heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom

Posted under Fynbos and Flora Blog by Grootbos on 15th February 2017


The Heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom

An area of extraordinarily high diversity of distinctive flora, the Cape Floral Kingdom is a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ and a unique natural haven for birds, insects and animals abound.

One of the World’s Most Diverse Floral Regions

In order to properly understand the world’s floral distribution, each region is divided into six kingdoms: the Holarctic, Paleotropical, Neotropical, Australian, Antarctic, and the South African or Cape Floristic.

The Cape Floristic region is widely known as the Cape Floral Kingdom and is the smallest of the six kingdoms. Located near the southern tip of South Africa, it is the only kingdom that falls entirely within the borders of one country.

Within an area of just over 90 000 square kilometres, more than 9000 known species of flowering fynbos plants exist; 70% of which can only be found in this region alone – making this kingdom one of the most diverse floras in the world.

This diversity can mostly be attributed to the fynbos – meaning ‘fine bush’ in Dutch, which dominates the area. This fire-prone shrub is known for its diversity of plant species; most notably the country’s national flower – the king protea.

A Symbiosis of Life

Nature is the master of adaptation and mutual relationships. Birds pollinate the flowers with seeds, ants carry these seeds underground and the fynbos ecosystem has not only adapted to the natural fires of this environment, but needs it in order to regenerate and thrive.

The wonder of this natural haven does not stop at fynbos however. The sweet nectar from fynbos wildflowers attracts almost 120 different species of birds and 30% of these are endemic to Southern Africa.

The area supports a huge variety of species within a very small radius, so whether you’re a serious birder, or just enjoy spending time in nature, you’re sure to spot an incredible variety of species including the black harrier, the Knysna woodpecker, the southern tchagra and the Cape rock thrush.

The Milkwood forest is also full of intrigue and contains trees that are estimated to be over 800 years old. Guests can enjoy an enchanting walk through this ancient forest and reflect in its quiet stillness. 

Unique to Grootbos

Grootbos realised the need to protect, restore and promote this rare area in order to ensure its conservation. Through intensive exploration of the 2 500-hectare reserve, came the discovery of six species new to science, four of which are only known from the reserve itself.

Scientists believe that more than half of protea species are at risk of becoming extinct as the climate changes, which makes the preservation of the unique Cape floral environment crucial.

Immersed in Nature

Within this spectacular kingdom of biodiversity lies the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. We are committed to the conservation of this floral region and to the contribution of sustainable livelihoods for local communities.

 



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