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Cape Town Environment
Flora Fauna Geology

The Cape Flora Kingdom is one of only six floral kingdoms in the world. It consists of at least eight and a half thousand species includes numerous bulbs, heathers, grasses and proteas.

Locally these plants are known as 'fynbos' because they have hardy wooden stems and fine leaves.

Fynbos evolved over a period of five million years from afro-montane origins.

Kirstenbosch Gardens, on the slopes of Table Mountain, has become a vital showpiece for fynbos and the flora of Southern Africa in general.


Although pressure from man and an arid climate has reduced the diversity of animals at the Cape it was once home to a variety of large species, including the African Bear and sabre-toothed cats.


Quagga - A Cape Zebra


Table Mountain is one of the oldest mountains on earth.

Eight hundred million years ago the first sandstone layers began to form underwater. These were later strengthened by the formation of a granite base.

The superstructure rose due to tectonic movements deflected down by the granite. The mountain has been slowly rising ever since, yet also eroded by the action of water, fire, wind and ice.


Table Mountain (picture Gordon Richardson, with thanks)

To supply passing ships with food the Dutch East India Company (VOC) released employees from their contracts and allocated 20 acre farms to them along the Liesbeeck river near Cape Town. Thus farming was established (more..)

In 1679 Simon van der Stel surveyed the winelands, established a town there (Stellenbosch) and encouraged wine farming. In the 1680s he brought French Huguenot refugees to the Cape to expand and improve wine production (more..)
Vines in the Cape Winelands

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