Introducing South African Plants—The Cape Floral Kingdom

Wild South Africa

Lex Hes|June 9, 2015|Blog Post

Why did I decide on the places we’ll be visiting? Well, in the late 1990s I worked on a book about South Africa’s biomes which really brought home the amazing biological diversity of this amazing country of ours. While traveling across the length and breadth of South Africa, I realized I wanted to share this diversity—but it is SO diverse that it is impossible to put everything into a single itinerary. One would have to return again and again to see it all!

Using the basis of the book which focused on five broad areas—the eastern coastal plain, the coast, the desert, the bushveld, and the mountains—I tried to put together an interesting representative sample. Each one of these biomes is so diverse in their own right, it was impossible to cover it all. So I decided, at least for now, on three of the biomes—the coast, the bushveld, and the deserts. Who knows, maybe there is a future trip which will look at the other two!

For the coast I chose one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa, the Cape Province. The Cape Peninsula is home to beautiful mountains plunging into the sea, unique vegetation of fynbos, beautiful white beaches, Table Mountain (one of the natural wonders of the world), and rocky coastlines overlooking bays filled with great white sharks and southern right and humpback whales.

For the desert environments I chose two areas—the famous Kalahari Desert, and an area on the west coast called Namaqualand. The Kalahari will give us the opportunity to see desert-adapted mammals such as South Africa’s national mammal, the springbok, along with oryx, cape fox, and bat-eared foxes, as well as a population of habituated meerkats. During the time of year we will be visiting, Namaqualand transforms itself from a dry dusty arid landscape, to an amazing colorful floral spectacle which is simply breathtaking.

No visit to Africa would be complete without seeing the country’s iconic big game animals, so we conclude our trip with a visit to the bushveld biome of one of Africa’s iconic National Parks—Greater Kruger National Park. Here we search for lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhino, as well as an abundance of other wildlife including the various antelope species, zebra, and giraffe.

South Africa is often called, ‘the World in One Country,’ and this adventure will give you a real taste of why; I look forward to sharing the amazing biodiversity with you! 

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