Visit Beautiful Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve
Recognized by UNESCO for its incredible biodiversity, the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve lies in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom on the southern tip of South Africa. Located just an hour out of the bustling metropolis of Cape Town, the reserve contains up to 1,880 different species of plants, with 77 of these species endemic to the area. When taking into account that all these treasures of nature are spread over an area of just 100,000 hectares, the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is widely considered to be among the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. Moreover, some of the species found in the Cape Floral Kingdom are considered to be living fossils, as scientists are of the opinion that the southern tip of Africa was not affected by the last ice age which would have destroyed the flora, as was the case in large parts of the earth.
The reserve incorporates a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean with its pristine sandy beaches interrupted by rocky outcrops. Huge sandstone folded mountains serve as a backdrop to the narrow coastal plain making up the reserve. As part of the worldwide network of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, Kogelberg has no fences separating nature from the communities living there. Instead, local residents, farmers, government and conservation agencies work together, putting into practice sustainable living principles with the emphasis on preserving this unique and precious area.
The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is the perfect holiday destination for nature lovers, offering a range of activities including river rafting and sand boarding down one of the largest sand dunes in the country. Birding enthusiasts will appreciate the prolific birdlife, while identifying the rich flora of the area could prove to be a full-time occupation. The views are spectacular, and at certain times of the year, spotting a Southern Right whale rising majestically up above the surf is almost guaranteed.
Within the reserve, the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden in Betty’s Bay boasts more than 700 species of indigenous plants, as well as 88 bird species. With beautifully landscaped gardens and pathways and facilities for wheelchair-bound visitors, the gardens feature fossil-age plants, dune displays, wetland and African montane forests – truly a world of natural beauty that everyone can enjoy. For the more energetic, hiking and walking trails wind their way through untouched terrain, opening up vistas to take your breath away. The botanical garden is also used as a venue for outdoor music concerts and other events.
The Western Cape has so much to offer that at times it may be difficult to decide what to see. If exploring nature at its best appeals to you, a visit to the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve should be on your holiday itinerary.