Fauna & Flora

Fauna

The Cape Grysbok, the Cape Grey Mongoose and caracul (rooikat) are animals to look out for in the coastal fynbos. An eland has been reported by a resident in the valley below Tolbosrand.

In the Indian Ocean from the cliffs on the eastern boundary of the reserve one can at times see Cape Fur Seals and a variety of whales, dolphins and porpoises. The Southern Right Whales come to the bays to breed from August to November each year.

Below are some examples of the fauna that have been photographed by various owners whilst walking in the reserve.

Flora

The L’Agulhas Nature Reserve has more than 276 species of fynbos, many of them unique to the reserve; of these there are 11 Red Data Species. The Agulhas Plain is an important component of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest and richest of the six plant kingdoms of the world

The unique limestone fynbos is restricted mainly to the soils of the Bredasdorp geological formation and is also known as limestone proteoid fynbos because of members of the Proteaceae family in this group. Limestone fynbos is an intriguing flora that occurs wherever there are limestone hills or cliffs (including Agulhas limestone), and is floristically very different from other vegetation. The reason for this is that these plants thrive on a soil type that would be toxic to most fynbos plants, which are normally found on acidic or neutral soils.  They grow on limestone soils, which are so alkaline that if you squeeze lemon juice on them they will fizz. It is this alkalinity in the soil that is toxic to most fynbos plants. Lime-rich soils have pH values greater than 7,5 (whereas other fynbos soils are acidic, with a pH value of 4,5 – 6,5) and are represented by species like Mimetes saxatilis, Protea obtusifolia, Leucadendron meridianum and Watsonia fergusoniae. Other vegetation types include acid sand proteoid fynbos, neutral sand proteoid fynbos and restioid fynbos.

In a remarkable adaptation to a hostile soil environment, limestone fynbos has evolved as a unique flora that shares only a few species in common with sandstone fynbos and sand fynbos. As one would expect from a flora that is confined to such specific soils, many plants are endemic, meaning that they grow only on such soils or even at only one locality. At first glance, this little-known flora appears as dry woody scrub. On closer inspection a fascinating array of intriguing and sometimes tiny flowers emerge. Limestone fynbos, being specialized and restricted in its distribution, is one of the most threatened vegetation types in the region, being threatened, inter alia, by alien plant encroachment.

Below are some examples of the flora that have been photographed by various owners whilst walking in the reserve.