Cape Floral Kingdom
Three percent (3%) of all the plant species in the world occurs in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve (KBR), which covers only 0,05% among the six floral kingdoms into which the world is divided:
North America, Europe and Central Asia
Africa without the southernmost tip and southern Asia with India, Malaysia and all the islands through to Australia
Southernmost tip of South America
Cape Floral Kingdom
The Cape Floral Kingdom has 1,300 species per 10,000 square kilometres. The next most biodiverse area is the Amazon basin with just 400 species per 10,000 square kilometres!
Scientists believe that this amazing biodiversity is the result of the southern tip of Africa having escaped the last ice age that destroyed numerous plant species around the world. As such, many of the 8,560 different plant species found in the Cape Floral Kingdom are literally 'living fossils'. The Cape Floral Kingdom also has more endemic species for its area than anywhere else in the world ... some 5,800 species. To put this in perspective, the whole of the United Kingdom only has 20 endemics.
The KBR is known as the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom – no wonder it was the first UNESCO ratified biosphere reserve in southern Africa.
Harold Porter National Botanical Garden
The Harold Porter National Botanical Garden in Betty's Bay was bequeathed to the national Botanical Gardens (now SANBI) in 1958. Today it showcases over 700 species of indigenous South African plants and >100 species of birds. Ten hectares are immaculately cultivated with wheelchair friendly paths winding between banks of fynbos plants, wetland and dune displays and cool African montane forests. Unfortunately no pets are allowed in the garden.
Another 190 hectares have been left undisturbed and offer attractive mountainside and riverine hikes taking between 1 and 4 hours. Trails in the Garden include a mountain slope Fynbos trail, the longer zig-zag border trail takes you into the core of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, and a trail (requiring a permit) along a stream up to the waterfall in Leopard's Gorge.
A nominal entrance fee is charged at the entrance that includes access to fynbos plant sales, a restaurant / tearoom and the souvenir shop.
The first Tuesday of every month is free to Senior Citizens.
Over the Festive Season, the Garden provides the most splendid setting for popular public events such as evening music concerts and Carols by Candlelight.