Cape Floral Region Protected Areas

S34 21 40 E18 28 30
Date of Inscription: 2004
Extension: 2015
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Property : 1,094,742 ha
Buffer zone: 798,514 ha
Ref: 1007bis
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Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004, the property is located at the south-western extremity of South Africa. It is one of the world’s great centres of terrestrial biodiversity. The extended property includes national parks, nature reserves, wilderness areas, State forests and mountain catchment areas. These elements add a significant number of endemic species associated with the Fynbos vegetation, a fine-leaved sclerophyllic shrubland adapted to both a Mediterranean climate and periodic fires, which is unique to the Cape Floral Region.

The Cape Floral Region has been recognised as one of the most special places for plants in the world in terms of diversity, density and number of endemic species. The property is a highly distinctive phytogeographic unit which is regarded as one of the six Floral Kingdoms of the world and is by far the smallest and relatively the most diverse. It is recognised as one of the world’s ʻhottest hotspotsʼ for its diversity of endemic and threatened plants, and contains outstanding examples of significant ongoing ecological, biological and evolutionary processes. This extraordinary assemblage of plant life and its associated fauna is represented by a series of 13 protected area clusters covering an area of more than 1 million ha. These protected areas also conserve the outstanding ecological, biological and evolutionary processes associated with the beautiful and distinctive Fynbos vegetation, unique to the Cape Floral Region.

Criterion (ix): The property is considered of Outstanding Universal Value for representing ongoing ecological and biological processes associated with the evolution of the unique Fynbos biome. These processes are represented generally within the Cape Floral Region and captured in the component areas that make up the 13 protected area clusters. Of particular scientific interest are the adaptations of the plants to fire and other natural disturbances; seed dispersal by ants and termites; the very high level of plant pollination by insects, mainly beetles and flies, birds and mammals; and high levels of adaptive radiation and speciation. The pollination biology and nutrient cycling are other distinctive ecological processes found in the site. The Cape Floral Region forms a centre of active speciation where interesting patterns of endemism and adaptive radiation are found in the flora.

Criterion (x): The Cape Floral Region is one of the richest areas for plants when compared to any similar sized area in the world. It represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora. The outstanding diversity, density and endemism of the flora are among the highest worldwide. Some 69% of the estimated 9,000 plant species in the region are endemic, with 1,736 plant species identified as threatened and with 3,087 species of conservation concern. The Cape Floral Region has been identified as one of the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots.

Suggested Bases:

Cape Town (Afrikaans: Kaapstad, Xhosa: iKapa) is the second most populous city in South Africa. The capital of Western Cape Province, it is also the legislative capital of the nation. Cape Town is on South Africa’s southwestern coast close to the Cape of Good Hope, and is the southernmost city on the African continent. It is the gateway to the globally renowned Cape Winelands which includes the towns of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl. Cape Town is nicknamed the Mother City within South Africa. Compared to the more business oriented Johannesburg it is known for its relaxed and leisurely atmosphere. Some jokingly claim that the reason it is called the Mother City is that it takes at least 9 months to get anything done in Cape Town! Compared to other parts of South Africa Cape Town is also distinctly more “western”, and South Africans from other provinces sometimes jokingly say they are traveling to Europe when visiting Cape Town [read more].

Port Elizabeth (Xhosa: iBhayi, Afrikaans: Die Baai) (or just PE if you want to sound South African) is South Africa’s fifth largest city. It is located on the Indian Ocean coast half-way between Cape Town and Durban, in the Eastern Cape, about 260 km from Knysna. It lives up to its reputation as the friendly city and the windy city. A perfect complement to the Garden Route, the Friendly City is a major sea port and tourist destination set along the beautiful shores of Nelson Mandela Bay. The centre of the South African motor industry is spoiled by moderate and warm temperatures all year round with scattered rain throughout the year – climatic attributes which contribute to an outstanding quality of life. A popular and significant destination for water sports, Port Elizabeth also offers many historical attractions, such as the Historic Donkin Heritage trail, taking visitors along the footsteps of the 1820 settlers [read more].

Worcester is a city in the Cape Winelands. Worchester is about about 120 kilometres from Cape Town along the N1 highway. There is a once daily commuter train from Cape Town as well as 2-3 long-distance trains from Johannesburg per week [read more].

One comment

  • A mere drive-by to see this incredible floral region is criminal. You need to go hiking in the Cape Floral Region to truly experience the true fynbos feel, scent and sound. One of our favourite, relatively easy hikes to experience the Cape Floral Kingdom is the stroll up Chapman’s Peak. The hike starts at the green SANParks signpost on Chapman’s Peak Drive, and takes about 2 hours to the beacon – an easy stroll with lots of stops to enjoy the spectacular views overlooking the Indian Ocean to one side, and the Atlantic Ocean to the other. It is advised you hike with an experienced guide, or at least let friends and family know of your hiking plans and ETA.

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