CapeNature’s Landscape East management area is the largest of the four CapeNature landscape management areas and extends from the lush Garden Route through to the arid Karoo areas around Beaufort West. The Western Cape is comprised of five different biomes, of which the Fynbos Biome is the largest, stretching along the coastal plain and extending across the Cape Fold Mountains. The Cape Floristic Region includes all vegetation types of the Fynbos Biome and is mostly located within the winter rainfall region. The Fynbos Biome comprises three vegetation types based on climatic and edaphic features, namely fynbos, renosterveld and strandveld.
Types of vegetation
The Succulent Karoo Biome is located in the more arid parts of the winter rainfall region, occupying the northern sections of the West Coast region and the Little Karoo in the rain shadow basin between the Swartberg and Outeniqua/Langeberg mountains, which fall within CapeNature’s management area of Landscape East.
The Nama Karoo Biome occupies the arid north-eastern parts of the province, which receive predominantly summer rainfall.
The Laingsburg area is a typical Nama Karoo landscape. Here, the vegetation is dominated by dwarf microphyllous shrubs, with annual grasses forming an important component.
The Albany Thicket Biome is more characteristic of the Eastern Cape, but also extends into the Western Cape.
The Afrotemperate Forest Biome occurs as naturally fragmented patches in the higher rainfall areas that are sheltered from frequent fire, more typically in the mountains, with the largest extents occurring along the Garden Route and Tsitsikamma, often extending onto the coast.
Outeniqua Nature Reserve
Located close to the Garden Route town of George and easily accessible from Mossel Bay, Knysna and Oudtshoorn, the Outeniqua Nature Reserve is about a five-hour drive from Cape Town.
Keurbooms River Nature Reserve
Keurbooms River Nature Reserve, a World Heritage Site, is an exquisite, small reserve of just 740 hectares located in the lush Garden Route region just outside Plettenberg Bay. The Keurbooms River passes through the reserve bringing an abundance of water from further up in the Tsitsikamma Mountains to enter the ocean through the stunning estuary.
Anysberg Nature Reserve
Anysberg Nature Reserve is located in the semi-arid Klein Karoo, between the towns of Ladismith, Laingsburg, Touwsrivier and Montagu. The reserve, officially proclaimed in 1990, encompasses 79 629 hectares of plains and the majestic Cape Fold Mountains, with deep valleys and steep gorges.
Gamkaberg Nature Reserve
We are fortunate in the Western Cape. The land forever heightens our sense of exploration with its expanses and its wilderness. And with the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Little Karoo, we need not go far to find a place with such space and detachment.
Swartberg Nature Reserve (Gamkaskloof - Die Hel)
Swartberg Nature Reserve lies between the Great Karoo and Klein Karoo, forming a narrow but long stretch of 121 000ha. The reserve was declared a World Heritage Site in 2004 and is bordered by Gamkapoort Nature Reserve immediately to the north (8 000ha) and Towerkop Nature Reserve immediately to the west (51 000ha).
Robberg Nature Reserve
Robberg, situated 8km south of Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route, is not only a nature reserve, but also a national monument and World Heritage Site. Rocks from this region date back 120 million years to the break-up of Gondwanaland.