Inscribed in 2004, followed by an extension in 2015, with the following justifications:
Criterion (ix): The property is considered of Outstanding Universal Value for representing ongoing ecological and biological processes associated with the evolution of the unique Fynbos biome; and,
Criterion (x): The Cape Floral Region is one of the richest areas for plants when compared to any similar sized area in the world. It represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora. The outstanding diversity, density and endemism of the flora are among the highest worldwide. (source: http://whc.unesco.org/pg.cfm?cid=31&id_site=1007)
A large part of my personal satisfaction in being able to tick this site off last 2016 stems from the fact that not only were my friend and I able to see the three nature reserves that form the Table Mountain National Park (i.e., Table Mountain, Silvermine and Cape of Good Hope), but, more importantly, we was able to pay proper visits to seven out of the eight protected areas that make up the inscribed serial property. We only missed out Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area.
The Cape floral kingdom is a truly unique ecosystem dominated by the fynbos, a plant vegetation (i.e., proteas, ericas, restios and some lilies) that practically only exists in this corner of the world. Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden, which is the only botanical garden in the world located inside a UNESCO natural world heritage site, provides a bird’s eye view of the different species of fynbos that thrive across different habitats, and it would be best to start one’s travel here. We, however, started with the Baviaanskloof moved towards Table Mountain, then went up to the Cederberg, and finally made the botanical garden our last stop upon returning to Cape Town.
Here are some of the highlights:
(a) the beautiful mountain scenery provided by the Swartberg Pass and the Merringspoort Pass. Both connect the Little Karoo and the Great Karoo, and are great feats of mountain engineering;
(b) the rock formations of the Cederberg and its extensive collection of ancient Bushmen paintings (we stayed overnight in the wilderness to see the Sevilla rock art trail);
(c) the coastal white sand dunes and game drives in De Hoop Nature Reserve and Protected Marine Area;
(d) views of Strand, Stellenbosch, Franchshoek, Botrivier and the rest fo the Boland area/wine region on top of the Hottentots-Holland mountains;
(d) scenic coastal drives along the Cape of Good Hope and Kogelberg biosphere reserve — very enjoyable!;
and (e) the imposing beauty of Table Mountain as seen in and around Cape Town – indeed a true world-class landmark! Also memorable was the walk along the penguin colony in Simon’s Town, which is part of the inscribed property as well.
Overall, the outstanding universal values of this serial property is not hard to understand and appreciate. Each protected area is different from one another, and all of it are definitely worth visiting.
PS. Special thanks to Wolffie for making the trip possible and wonderful!