Flora & Fauna
The plant diversity of the Cape coastal belt, along with the hillsides and mountains of the hinterland of South Africa, ranks among the richest in the world. Despite covering just 0.04 per cent of the Earth’s surface which is about the size of Portugal, this remarkable region contains more than 9,000 species of plants, of which 69 % occur nowhere else on the planet. The predominant vegetation is fynbos (from the original Dutch meaning ‘fine bush’), with its characteristic tough-leaved shrubs and members of the family Restionaceae, which are related to rushes.
Fynbos Retreat is situated in the heart of this magnificent floral paradise. It is home to many different habitats including limestone, mountain, dune and wetland fynbos as well as two different forest types. The fynbos includes exceptional diversity, a high number of rare, endangered and endemic plant species. These thrive in the infertile, sandy soils of the Cape Fold Mountains and along the coast. The climate is Mediterranean, with wet winters and hot, dry summers resulting in summer fires at intervals of between five and forty years. These fiery interludes are essential in maintaining plant and animal diversity in the region. Fynbos Retreat falls within the 2500 hectare Grootbos Nature Reserve. A fifteen year survey of the fynbos of Grootbos has revealed a remarkable 754 species of plants, including 108 Red Data (threatened) species and six species new to science. The deeply significant role of fire in fynbos was emphasized by the fact that the flower tally jumped from 680 to 750 species after a huge fire in 2006 – 70 new species as a result of what botanist’s term post fire succesional processes. While winter and spring are the best times to experience the flowers, the sheer number of different plant species means that there is always flowers throughout the year.
At Fynbos Retreat you have a wonderful opportunity to walk the many trails through forest, wetland and fynbos, experience the magnificent natural landscapes and flora and fauna that makes this region so special.