Exploring South Africa’s wildlife on a luxury holiday

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Richard Nurse | 27 Oct, 2014

Your weekly update from our Destination Manager in Cape Town, Richard Nurse:

Hi folks, well where were we? Yes…we were talking about the wonderful plant life that I experienced on my walk on and around Table Mountain last weekend.

So to follow up on what beautiful plants and flowers are out there I thought I would share some interesting facts about our floral kingdom in the Western Cape called Fynbos (pronounced fane boss) from the Dutch for ‘fine leaved plants’. The major players are the Protea (Proteceae family) Erica (Ericaceae family) numerous Restios (Restionaceae reed family) and the Asteraceae (daisy family).

A lot of these plants provide food for the smaller animals in the region like baboons, dassies (a type of rock rabbit known as Hydrax), mongooses and the striped mouse. The fynbos does not support large numbers of birds but the Cape Sugar Bird and the Orange Breasted Sunbird are found only in fynbos areas and play a major role in pollinating the Ericas and Proteas from which they drink the pollen. Another interesting fact is that certain protea are also pollinated by mice!

How amazing is Mother Nature?! The Watsonias (gladiolus) are also in full bloom on the mountains at this time of year and their various colours just add to the already incredible landscape. Another remarkable feature of fynbos is the number of species found within small areas. For example, the total world range of some species consists of areas smaller than half a football or rugby field. Over 75% of South Africa's rare and threatened plants are found in the fynbos.

So please visit us and let me arrange one or a few walks for you so that you too can experience this wonderful show that Mother Nature puts on for us in and around Cape Town. It's not all about the Big 5. And I leave you with this interesting statistic: the 60 km2 of Table Mountain alone supports 1,470 species.

How very blessed we are to live in such a special place.
Until the next time,