Where to stop and smell the fynbos this Winter

2019-05-09 20:00
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South Africa is home to an extra-ordinary 8 floral biomes. We’re a country of diversity for sure. 

And while forests and grasslands have a special appeal, our indigenous Fynbos sets the benchmark high when it comes to uniqueness.

As part of the Cape Floral Kingdom - a  protected biodiversity hotspot -  it is the only floral kingdom that falls entirely within the borders of one country. 

Despite being the smallest of the six recognised floral kingdoms in the world, it certainly packs a punch - since within an area of just over 90 000 square kilometres, more than 9 000 known species of flowering fynbos plants exist.  

So, while the options are plentiful to experience the best of SA’s fynbos offerings across this Southern Western region– there are one or two that showcase this fire-prone shrub, unlike any other.  

READ: From grasslands to fynbos: SA camping spots for every ecosystem 

Grootbos Private Nature reserve, Overberg

The fynbos region in the Western Cape is made up of a magnificent belt of natural heathland vegetation - and during winter the fields of the Overberg burst with vibrant colour in a spectacular showcase of indigenous flora and fauna.

The Cape Floral Kingdom is without a doubt one of SA's most beautiful natural heritage experiences, and the recent Responsible Tourism Winner at WTM Africa 2019, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve – has been ensuring its preservation for years.  

In this magical place - about a two-hour's drive outside of Cape Town -  lies a unique landscape covered with contoured and beautifully textured coastlines, awash with Cape reeds, ericas, proteas and irises to mention a smidgen. 

SEE: 7 Secrets to uncover during a weekend at Grootbos

SEE: Wilderer side of Paarl: SA fynbos heritage shaken and stirred

Die Hel in Swartberg Nature Reserve 

After crossing the Swartberg Pass, you'll see a sign pointing towards Gamkaskloof, plastered with the stickers of previous travellers who lost themselves to the seduction of Gamkaskloof. 

Here the fynbos is thriving and together with stunning vistas of gorges and golden-hued mountains, the biodiversity is mind-blowing. The scenery literally changes from shrubs to proteas to spekboom forests to a variety of succulents. 

Here you can stay in one renovated homes of the bygone community. Each equipped with their own splash pool and offering some of the best views of the surrounding mountains splashed with golden hues.

WATCH: Be seduced by the isolation and golden beauty of Die Hel

READ: The Luxury of Silence: SA's quietest nature spots to add to your list

Gondwana Game Reserve, Garden Route

Gondwana has added a new activity in time for green season starting in May, when Fynbos is in all its glory.

The slightly cooler, sun-drenched days are ideal for outdoor activities like easy walks, hiking or mountain biking in the reserve’s mountains and valleys amongst wild game. Now you can also explore indigenous wild flowers and plants that exist nowhere else in the world, with the newly launched, hands-on Botanical Conservation Experience.

Its Fynbos Conservation Experience includes a guided nature walk lead by their resident botanist across 11,000 hectares of pristine wilderness, including 1000 plant, 118 bird-, 29 mammal- and 21 amphibian species coexisting here. Learn how to conserve this rare and endangered Fynbos biome during this 2-3 hour experience, offered daily in the downtime between morning and evening game drives.

READ: Sanbona Family Safari: A lesson in all manner of animal poop, they're unlikely to forget

De Hoop Nature Reserve, Overberg

Situated in the Overberg's De Hoop Nature Reserve, about 3-hours outside of Cape Town, the luxurious De Hoop Collection is a buy 1-get-1000 deal. Part of Cape Country Routes, it is known for its land-based whale watching in season.

However, De Hoop Collection is a buffet of unlimited treats - including the rich biodiversity of rare species of fynbos.  

WATCH: From sand dunes to fynbos, veld and vlei: The rapidly changing landscape of De Hoop

Cape Agulhas, Western Cape

 If you drive from Cape Town heading towards Agulhas National Park to see the Iconic Map of Africa Monument - also home to the Southern Most Tip of Africa, which shows travellers where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet - be sure to take a detour via Arniston and Kassiesbaai. 

Visiting these sights are free of charge, as is the Agulhas National Park. It is only the Rest Camp that has private access for those who have booked a stay in the stunning thatched chalets, but a hop, skip and a jump from the ocean.

READ: WATCH: There's a new reason to travel to the Southern Most Tip of Africa

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