De Hoop Nature Reserve (1/2)

The reserve
De Hoop nature reserve is situated on the coast in the Overberg region. It covers an area of approximately thirtyfour thousand hectares and it is adjacent to the De Hoop Marine protected Area, which extends about 5 kilometers out to sea.

Flora and fauna
Fynbos is the dominant vegetation group and is largely confined to nutrient-poor soils in the winter rainfall areas of the Western Cape. It is adapted to fire and drought and is defined by four growth forms:
- proteas (tall shrubs with large leaves)
- ericas (heath-like shrubs)
- restios (wiry, reed-like plants which are always present in fynbos)
- geophytes (bulbs that store moisture in fleshy underground organs)
The reserve has 86 mammal species. Most notable are the rare bontebok and Cape mountain zebra, as well as eland, grey rhebuck, baboon, yellow mongoose, caracal and the occasional leopard.
Marine mammals such as dolphins and seals occur in the waters off the coast and southern right whales calve and mate in the sheltered bays of De Hoop each year between May and December. At least 250 species of fish occur in the marine protected area.
A variety of resident and migratory bird species are found in the reserve and more than 260 species have been recorded. The De Hoop Vlei attracts large numbers of water birds. The only remaining breeding colony of the rare Cape vulture in the Western Cape is located at Potberg.

Interesting links:
Official website of De Hoop Nature reserve
Website of De Hoop Collection