The Kogelberg Biosphere
is recognized as perhaps world's greatest biodiversity hot-spot.Size for size, this 100 000 hectare UNESCO registered Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is home to the most complex biodiversity on our planet! This reserve has approximately1 800 plant species. The next richest is the South American rainforest with just 420 species per 10,000 sq kilometres.
Many spectacular members of the protea family occur in the reserve. These include the endangered marsh rose, Orothamnus zeyheri, once on the brink of extinction and now known to occur on a few inaccessible peaks. Kogelberg has three patches of relic indigenous forest, Louwbos, Platbos and Oudebos. These patches are similar to the Knysna forests and includes yellowwood, stinkwood and boekenhout trees.
The Kogelberg does not have many large animals. There are a few leopards; the Cape clawless otter may be seen in or near water; smaller antelope include klipspringer and grysbok; and baboons, dassies and hares are fairly common. Peregrine falcons, black eagles and fish eagles hunt and nest in and around the reserve. An endemic freshwater crab and the endangered micro-frog are found in the area. A herd of wild horses roam the flats of the Bot River estuary at Rooisand.
There are a number of great hikes in this area ranging from short 3hr trips up to a two day excursion. The Palmiet River walk, starting 100m or so on the Betty's Bay side of the bridge, is a good introduction. The walk is an easy three hour walk up the river. Permits are required. During the day they can be purchased at the offices at the start of the trail. A 5-6hr mountain bike route starts at the same point. Contact Cape Nature for more details (028) 271 5138 or visit their website.