The nature reserve hosts a unique combination of Fynbos and grass plains. The Fynbos landscape is arguably one of the most beautiful in the world.
Fynbos, the primary vegetation on the reserve which resembles wild flowers, is endemic to the Western Cape region and exists nowhere else in the world, drawing unique bird-life and mammals. An abundance of indigenous plants such as Proteas, Ericas, and Restios provide year round enjoyment and colour.
Birding in Fynbos is a once in a lifetime experience with endemic birds frequently seen.
Fynbos, meaning “fine bush” in Afrikaans is the natural shrubland or heathland vegetation occurring in a small belt of the Western Cape of South Africa, mainly in winter rainfall coastal and mountainous areas with a Mediterranean climate.
A Deeper Understanding
Gondwana forms part of the Thicket and Fynbos biomes which Mucina and Rutherford have broadly classified the locale as Swellendam Silcrete Fynbos, Southern Cape Valley Thicket and Mosselbay Shale Renosterveld (2006).
Swellendam Silcrete Fynbos is regarded as the transition between Fynbos and Renosterveld. This vegetation unit is dominated by an asteraceae element. Mosselbay Shale Renosterveld can be described as a medium tall, medium dense shrubland where thicket patches and thicket elements are common (Rebelo, et al., 2006). The Southern Cape Valley Thicket is described as a medium to tall dense shrubland with fynbos and renosterveld elements. (Hoare D. B., et al., 2006).
The Sub Tropical Thicket Ecosystem Programme (STEP), have identified the area as Gouritz Thicket, Herbertsdale Renosterveld Thicket and Blanco Renosterveld Fynbos (Vlok & Euston-Brown, 2002). A mosaic of plant communities is established on Gondwana. Extensive vegetation mapping and surveying of the reserve has revealed eight major vegetation units. The function of placing these homogenous entities into categories is to establish a relationship with similar plant communities to such a degree that it can sustain grazing and browsing value and potential for plant biomass production independent of each plant community (Van Rooyen, 2002).
Figure 4: Fine Scale Vegetation of Gondwana Game Reserve and surrounds (Gouritz Initiative Planning). (Lombard & Wolf, 2004).
Based on the variety of plant community’s on Gondwana, this may require different management implications of each vegetation unit (i.e. suitable species allocated to each vegetation unit may differ.) Major distinctions for plant communities are made on the basis of physiognomy, growth form or species composition of the study area (Van Rooyen, 2002). Classification of plant communities reveals that Gondwana hosts a large diversity of flora species.