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Nature and outdoor lovers are sure to find Cape Town and surrounds of great interest with its rich flora and fauna, its unique fynbos and the variety of animal and birdlife which can be seen and enjoyed. There are a number of parks and nature reserves in and around Cape Town each displaying a different aspect of the Cape's biodiversity.
Fynbos is the major vegetation type of the small botanical region known as the Cape Floral Kingdom. Only five other floral kingdoms are recognized worldwide and of them the Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest and the richest with over 7 700 plant species for such a small area. Fynbos (fine bush) is characterised by three main plant types: large, leathery-leafed proteas, Cape reed or restiose grasses and small-leafed, heath-like ericas.
|Proteas at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens||King Protea|
Reserves and Parks
Table Mountain National Park - found at the south-western tip of Africa, the Table Mountain National Park (CPNP) encompasses the beautiful Peninsula mountain chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south - a distance of 60km. At the tip of the peninsula is Cape Point. Here you will find over 250 species and a variety of buck, baboons & other animals. The park is ideal for walking, hiking and swimming at one of the rustic beaches. More ...
Rondevlei Nature Reserve - located in the False Bay area, this reserve was established in 1952 and centres around a large vlei surrounded by coastal dunes. Bird lovers will enjoy the six birdhides from which White Pelican, Greater Flamingo, African Spoonbill and Caspian Tern can be spotted. Up to 230 different species of birds have been sighted at Rondevlei. Children will enjoy the snake house and freshwater aquarium as well as the resident porcupines. Grysbok, Cape Clawless Otter, Cape Grey Mongoose and a the resident family of hippo can also be spotted. Visit rondevlei.co.za for more information.
Rietvlei Nature Reserve - located in the Blaauwberg area this reserve is one of the largest coastal wetlands in South Africa. It offers a bird watching hide and choice of nature trails with magnificent views of Table Mountain. Over 173 bird species have been recorded, including nine red data species and large flocks of flamingos and pelicans.
|Flamingoes at Rondevlei|
Walking & Hiking
There are plenty of opportunties for walking and hiking in and around Cape Town from gentle strolls to more strenuous day-hikes. Table Mountain, Devils Peak and Lions Head all provide fairly easy hiking and are within easy reach of the city centre. There are various other routes which lead to the top of Table Mountain, some start in Kirstenbosch Gardens as well as at Constantia Nek. There is also easy walking in both Newlands and Tokai forests, or visit Silvermine Nature Reserve at the top of Ou Kaapse Weg for trails leading to Elephants Eye.
|View towards Hout Bay||Hiking surrounded by fynbos|