World Heritage Day

by CapeNature

World Heritage Day is celebrated on 18 April each year and is an opportunity for us to marvel in both our natural and cultural heritage.

World Heritage Sites are special and unique places with fragile ecosystems that need special care. One such site is the Cape Floral Region Protected Area World Heritage Site.

The Cape Floral Region is one of the eight South African World Heritage Sites which also include iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Robben Island, Maloti-Drakensberg Park, Mapungupwe Cultural Landscape, Vredefort Dome, the Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa and Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape.

The Cape Floral Region was first inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 2004. At the time of the inscription, the site was made up of 8 protected areas making up about 553 000 hectares. Today that area is now over 1 million hectares and has increased to 13 protected area clusters.

Originally known as Melkhoutskraal, the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve encompasses 250 hectares of indigenous forest in the Langeberg region, close to Heidelberg. The name translates to “big father” in honour of Roelof Oelofse who owned the land in 1723. It has only been a reserve since 1986 and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2004. This is the most significant stretch of indigenous afromontane forest left in the south-western Cape, with nearly all of the 35 typical forest tree species, including red alder, ironwood, stinkwood and yellowwood. Visitors to this beautiful reserve will relish the opportunity to get out into the forest on day walks and mountain biking trails. This is an excellent birding destination with more than 196 bird species regularly spotted. Hikers are likely to bump into bushbuck and spot baboons and smaller mammals when out on the trails. Sighting the forest emperor butterfly and a subspecies of the rare ghost frog would be the highlight of a visit here, as they can only be found in this particular forest.

Originally known as Melkhoutskraal, the Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve encompasses 250 hectares of indigenous forest in the Langeberg region, close to Heidelberg. The name translates to “big father” in honour of Roelof Oelofse who owned the land in 1723. It has only been a reserve since 1986 and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2004.

The extended Cape Floral Region is one of the richest areas for plants when compared to any similar sized areas in the world. It represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora with some 69% of the 9000 identified plant species being endemic to the area.

A number of CapeNature-managed protected areas are part of this World Heritage Site including the Groot Winterhoek, Cederberg, the Boland Mountain Complex, De Hoop, Anysberg, Swartberg, and the Garden Route complex which includes Robberg and the Langeberg complex which is home to Grootvadersbosch – where our newest accommodation is situated.

The recent developments at Grootvadersbosch makes the area a great option to visit if you want to see a World Heritage Site in the Western Cape. Aside from the natural beauty which is on display in Grootvadersbosch, there are also 11 comfortable cottages, three with universal access, which were opened in November last year.

 

Published in Care for Nature

Write a Reply