It’s time for a trip to the University of Western Cape. You’re going to see wildlife that you’ve never encountered, endangered plant species and three different ecosystems. That’s right, all of this can be found on a privately-owned reserve on a college campus in South Africa. Are you ready for this adventure?
The three ecosystems consist of flatlands, wetlands and dunes. Whether you are a botanist or just have an appreciation for plants like I do, you’re going to discover that between the three ecosystems, there are 220 plant species. One of the plants that is endangered is the Lessertia Argentea, and it is a red list species.
As for the wildlife, there are 20 mammal species and more than 100 bird species. It is the perfect habitat for bird watching. Have you ever seen a spotted eagle owl? What about a rock kestrel? There are also black-shouldered kites on site at the Cape Flats Nature Reserve.
You would think as of right now that this reserve would be forested and rural, but that is not the case. It is an urban nature reserve, right on campus. While that is really neat, there is a downside. In that sense, the reserve isn’t so much protected from nearby development. Plus, not all of the vegetation is in protected areas, which of course affects the wildlife as well.
In fact, there has been a movement to try and keep it more protected, but the numbers are sliding. Still, this nature reserve, conceived in the 1960’s and made official in 1977, makes up 25 percent of the University of Western Cape.
It didn’t take long after Cape Flats Nature Reserve became official for it to be recognized as a national monument. Are you getting excited about visiting this Provincial Heritage Site? If you look at the reserve’s origins, the goal was to protect two particular endangered plant species.
That said, you’re going to want to check out these two particular species while you are there. They are the Coastal Fynbos and the Strandveld. Much environmental research is conducted at the reserve, and it is also used for educational purposes and ecological testing.
There is no other land area on the globe that boasts that boasts more endangered plants per unit area. You can see why people are fighting to protect this core conservation site. It is truly a remarkable place to visit, whether for professional reasons or simply as a tourist who cares about environmental preservation and seeing species of plants and animals you don’t see everywhere.
We have talked plants, mammals and birds so far, but what about reptiles? There is the Cape Dwarf Chameleon, and it would be a treat to see that creature roaming around. You might even end up spotting an Angulate Tortoise.
There are weekly photo walks, and you will see all the short trails that intertwine. There are picnic areas for your enjoyment, and you can even take a guided tour. Check out pictures of the university campus and the nature reserve. You’re going to take in some history here folks, and you’re going to learn while having a lot of fun out there in nature.
You’re out in the wild, but in an urban area at the same time. Not many campuses can boast that type of atmosphere. And in fact, there isn’t a place like Cape Flats Nature Reserve anywhere in the world. You’re in for quite the treat when you make the trek there and do some exploring. Who knows what all you will find, but you certainly have a list of creatures and plants to look out for.