Fauna & Flora

The greater Tsitsikamma offers a very diverse bird life. From shoreline estuaries to Fynbos and wetlands, the area is rich in variety and gets the fair share of summer migratory birds.
The SHORELINE, which is subject to tidal action, produces a variety of Waders, Terns, Gulls, Oystercatchers and Gannets. The Waders are mostly migratory birds, breeding in the northern hemisphere and spending the summer months in the southern hemisphere. Larger flocks of different species frequent the shoreline from September until March/April. Occasionally during the winter storms, unusual seabirds like Shearwaters and Petrels can be seen.

The Tsitsikama is home to a large variety of birdlife including Terns, Cormorants, Darters, Egrets, Herons, Ibis, Spoonbills and Hamerkops. The world's land surfaces are divided into six Plant Kingdoms and Tsitsikamma lies in the heart of the famous Cape Floral Kingdom (CFK) - the smallest and most diverse plant kingdom in the world!

The Cape Floral Kingdom lies in the South Western Cape and stretches from Van Rhynsdorp to Port Elizabeth, with a total size of 90 000 km (about the size of Portugal or Malawi) and covers only 0.02% of the world's land surfaces. 8 600 Plants occur in the CFK of which 5 800 - or 68% of the plants are endemic. That means these occur only in the CFK and nowhere else on earth - not even elsewhere in South Africa. (The British Isles - three times bigger - only has 1 500 plants in total. The CFK boasts a total of 1 500 bulbous plants alone!).

There are five types of vegetation in the CFK, namely Fynbos (mountain, coastal and limestone),
Renosterveld, Thicket, Succulent Karoo and Afromotane Forest. The fynbos element constitutes the biggest component - about 80% - of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

Components of fynbos are Proteoids, Erica's, Restios and the geophytes, or bulbous plants. Characteristics of the CFK is that it evolved over million of years on nutrient poor soils. A further unique adaptation is the one of fynbos to regular fire cycles. It is no exaggeration to say that without fire there won't be any fynbos.

What makes Tsitsikamma so unique is that all five vegetation types of the CFK are present in the Tsitsikamma area. Beautiful areas of Lowland Fynbos, with patches of Limestone Fynbos can be viewed.


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