A Guide to Fynbos in the Cape Floral Kingdom

 
 

South Africa is a land of majestic mountain ranges, verdant valleys and vineyards, outstanding scenery, and, of course, fynbos; the vegetation, heathland, and shrubland that’s unique to the region. From a distance, the sight of fynbos – pronounced “fane-bos” – may conjure up memories of Scottish moors, albeit with a much sunnier backdrop, but this

 

18th September 2015

The Twelve Apostles Hotel

Guide to Fynbos Protea Flower Credit ANDREVISSER iStock Thnkstock www thinkstockphotos co

South Africa is a land of majestic mountain ranges, verdant valleys and vineyards, outstanding scenery, and, of course, fynbos; the vegetation, heathland, and shrubland that’s unique to the region. From a distance, the sight of fynbos – pronounced “fane-bos” – may conjure up memories of Scottish moors, albeit with a much sunnier backdrop, but this extraordinary type of plant life, found in South Africa’s Cape Floral Kingdom, requires a closer look.

From the King Protea (South Africa’s national flower) to the many varieties of reeds, this magical explosion of colourful plant life is largely thanks to the area’s nutrient-poor soil; it seems when plants are forced to work for it, the product is pretty visually and ecologically spectacular. Stay at the luxurious Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa where you’ll be right at the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, or on the wildlife reserve that’s known for its floral landscape, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat.

Table Mountain   Cape Town Tourism   Hillary Fox

Don’t head out on a tour of the fynbos without your camera © Cape Town Tourism / Hillary Fox

Where to Find Fynbos

The belt of land that’s home to the fynbos stretches across the southwest and southern tip of the African continent, encompassing tens of thousands of kilometres. And it’s diverse, too; there are more than 100 species of fynbos for every square kilometre, many of which don’t exist anywhere else on the planet.

Fynbos and Table Mountain   johannlourens iStock Thinkstock www thinkstockphotos co

The fynbos is part of what makes this corner of South Africa so visually stunning © johannlourens/iStock/Thinkstock

There are plenty of scenic spots to get out and enjoy the fynbos in the Cape Floral Kingdom, most notably Cape Point, Table Mountain, and the Silvermine Nature Reserve, which have the added bonus of being incredible sights in their own rights; visits here make for perfect day trips.

Another great way to view the fynbos is by visiting the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Cape Floral Kingdom, Kirstenbosch protects and preserves numerous species of fynbos. Check out their walking tours for extra informative bang for your buck.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden   Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch is teeming with life, from hummingbirds to fynbos © Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

With its grand mountains and unspoiled vistas, the Kogelberg Nature Reserve (about two hour’s drive from the hotel) is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places to view the fynbos. It’s also a great place for more active adventures like hiking, canoeing, and even wildlife spotting, should the mood strike.

Best Times of Year

The beauty of the fynbos is that there’s always something to see regardless of what time of year you visit. Nevertheless, many swear that if you’re lucky enough to be in the area in September or October, you’re in for a treat because, as it’s spring in the Southern Hemisphere, the region is bursting with plant life.

Fynbos with Protea   estivillml iStock Thinkstock

A view of the fynbos with the famous protea © estivillml/iStock/Thinkstock

Special Fynbos Events and Experiences

The Funky Fynbos Festival, held every year in Gansbaai, is a great day out for the whole family, with fynbos displays and safaris, not to mention great activities like whale watching, bike tours and live music.

Funky Fynbos Festival   Brenda du Toit

Gansbaai’s Funky Fynbos Festival is a great family-friendly day out © Brenda du Toit

Or, for a more interactive experience, why not treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment back at The Spa at The Twelve Apostles. Using handpicked fynbos, the Apostles Touch treatment is deeply relaxing and ever-so decadent.Over at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat try the Cederberg “Soul”ution signature treatment. Using traditional African techniques, this therapeutic treatment incorporates an aromatic fusion of South Africa’s indigenous rooibos and fynbos vegetation; the perfect way to unwind after a day exploring the Cape Floral Kingdom.

Header image © ANDREVISSER/iStock/Thinkstock

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