South Africa's seventh World Heritage site, is the amazing Cape Floral Kingdom- the richest area of floral biodiversity on earth.
r When the remarkable species of Fynbos found themselves on Planet Earth, the majority sought prime biodiversity hotspots to colonise, 80% of which fell on the Southern half of the African continent.
Here, as long as 80 million years ago, the pioneering Proteaceae species laid down their roots in and around Table Mountain and very soon were joined by the other two members of the Fynbos family, Ericas and Restios. Today, their wealthy kingdom stretches all the way along the Garden Route up to Port Elizabeth with a greater variety of plants than tropical rainforests.
r The highly successful perpetuation of this species can be attributed to an almost unbelievable principle known in academic circles as ‘adaptive radiation’. The process basically refers to the organism’s unique ability to genetically adapt to its surroundings. In order to demonstrate the outstanding value ‘adaptive radiation’ has to science in an extreme hypothesis, think of this genetic mutation that stems from ‘survival of the fittest’ as the human equivalent to growing gills with the advent of global warming, in order to out-perform competing organisms. Adaptive radiation is undoubtedly failsafe, powerful and effective since the Proteaceae family have enjoyed the sea and surf of Southern Africa’s coastline from as far back as the Late Cretaceous period.
To burn or not to burn…
r Fynbos is also dependant on a fascinating process known as Serotiny. Much like the Phoenix, in a 14 year cycle, the heat of the fires melt the resins that protect the seeds in the cones allowing them to germinate and sprout triumphantly from the ashes.
Experience this miracle of nature from any one of the following Protea hotels, beginning in Cape Town with the Victoria Junction, Sea Point and North Wharf, to the Outeniqua, King George and Knysna Quays along the Garden Route or Keurbooms River, The Sands @St Francis and the Protea Hotel Edward in Port Elizabeth.
For tailor-made travel advice to South Africa and to witness the miracle of the Cape Floral Kingdom, use CityGuideSA.com !