For the first time in 20 years, a new nature reserve – the Succulent Karoo region – has been proclaimed in the Western Cape.

Knersvlakte Nature Reserve, the latest addition to the Western Cape’s magnificent offering of existing reserves, is a proud tribute to the arid Karoo region, a place where hardy, semi-desert plants thrive.

CEO of World Wide Fund for Nature SA, Dr Morné du Plessis, stated, “The proclamation of the new Knersvlakte Nature Reserve coincides with National Heritage Day and will add 85 000Ha to the national network of protected areas in accordance with the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act. This land holds immense biodiversity, and plants have adapted to the arid hot climate making them beautifully unique.”

Located in the north-west pocket of the Western Cape, Knersvlakte is three times the size of Table Mountain National Park, housing over 1300 species of plants, of which 190 are endemic and 155 are the threatened. The Succulent Karoo contains about one-third of the world’s estimated 10 000 species of succulent plants.

Gail Cleaver-Christie, CapeNature’s Executive Director of Conservation Management, said, “This is a truly wonderful achievement for conservation in South Africa. The diversity and high numbers of endemic plant species (in the reserve) makes the Knersvlakte a region of international importance with research being done by both local and international botanists.”

A fitting Heritage Day gift for the Western Cape. Read more about the biodiversity hotspot on Cape Nature here.

 

Photography Unsplash

 

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