The Cape Floral Region has been recognised as one of the most special places for plants—in terms of diversity, density and number of endemic species—in the world. Covering less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora, this extraordinary assemblage of plant life and its associated fauna is represented by a series of eight protected areas covering a large area. 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.
The distinctive flora of the region, comprising 80% of its richness, is the fynbos (fine bush), fine-leaved vegetation adapted to both the Mediterranean type of climate and to periodic fires, and defined by the location or dominant species. Plant variety is based on soil types which vary from predominantly coarse, sandy, acidic nutrient-poor soils, to alkaline marine sands and slightly richer alluvials. There are pockets of evergreen forest in fire-protected gorges and on deeper soils; in the east are valley thickets and succulent thickets, which are less fire-dependent, and in the drier north, low succulent Karoo shrubland.