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Heathland (Fynbos)

The Fynbos heathlands in the southern temperate region of Africa is rich in bird, insect and most especially plant species...

Distribution of fynbos in southern Africa.

Kingdom Plantae

One of the highest diversities of plants in the world is in the Fynbos of southern temperate Africa. In fact, it is so rich, it is classified as it's own floristic region separate from the rest of Africa, and equivalent to the other floristic regions of South America or Australasia.

Order Proteales

Family Proteaceae

The species of Proteaceae in South Africa include some of the biggest showiest flowers in the world.

The large flowers attract some of the world's largest nectar feeding birds, such as the 'sugarbirds'.

Order Ericales

Family Ericaceae

Table Mountain, South Africa

Erica abietina. Endemic to southern South Africa.

Order Saxifragales

Family Crassulaceae

(Table Mountain, South Africa)

Maybe Crassula coccinea?


(the Boulders)

Nephila fenestrata 'Black-legged Nephila'.

Class Insecta

Order Coleoptera: Beetles

(Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, South Africa)

Cyrtothyrea marginalis, 'Common Dotted Fruit Chafer'.

Order Lepidoptera: Moths and Butterflies

Family Nymphalidae

(Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, South Africa)

Acraea horta, 'Garden Acraea'

Order Hymenoptera: Bees, Wasps & Ants

Family Apidae

(Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, South Africa)

Xylocopa, 'Carpenter Bee' .

For the page on the birds of the African fynbos

Speckled Mousebird (image by Damon Ramsey)Speckled Mousebird (Kirstenbosch)

Class Mammalia

Order Hyracoidea: 'Hyrax'

Many areas around the world have mammals adapted to living in rocky outcrops. In North America it is the Mountain Goat, in Asia it is the Serows, in the Himalayas it is the Tarkin and the Tahr, and in Australia it is the rock wallabies. In sub-Saharan Africa, it is the Dassie or Hyrax.

(Table Mountain, Cape Town South Africa)

Procavia capensis, 'Cape Hyrax', 'Rock Hyrax', 'Rock Dassie'.

Order Rodentia 

Family Hystricidae: '(Old World) Porcupines'

(Avian Leisure, Cape Town)

Hystrix africaeaustralis, 'Cape Porcupine', 'South African Porcupine'.

Places to explore the African Fynbos

The main centre and jumping off point for exploring the fynbos heathlands of South Africa is of course Cape Town. While here, you can explore the Botanical Gardens for 'captive' fynbos species and Table Mountain for wild ones. If you want to see some of the native birds and get out of the city, a great place to stay is Avian Leisure.

Throughout the virus I am working in Australia on and off as local borders close, mostly in the Kimberley with Coral Expeditions (May-September). If you can't go travelling until everything settles down, then until then, here I am doing online guided walks for Noble Caledonia and online lectures for Silversea.