Cape Point is in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve within Table Mountain National Park, which forms part of the Cape Floral Region, a World Heritage Site. It includes the majestic Table Mountain chain, which stretches from Signal Hill to Cape Point, and the coastlines of the Cape Peninsula. This narrow stretch of land, dotted with beautiful valleys, bays and beaches, contains a mix of extraordinarily diverse and unique fauna and flora. The Cape Peninsula (around 470 sq km) has 2285 flowering plant species. Table Mountain National Park alone has 1470 of these. Mountain fynbos dominates the park. It’s characterised by four main groups: protea shrubs with large leaves (proteoids), fine-leaved shrubs (ericoids), wiry, reed-like plants (restioids) and bulbous herbs (geophytes). Table Mountain National Park includes the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. Although the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve (or Cape Point as it is colloquially called) occupies only 16% of the area of the Cape Peninsula as given by Adamson & Salter (1950), the flora of Cape Point comprises 41% of the flora of the whole Peninsula. This illustrates the fact that many of the habitats and plant communities of the Peninsula are represented at Cape Point. Cape Point is the windiest place in South Africa and experiences only 2% of all hours in the year with calm conditions. I also want to mention that all of the following photographs were taken in October, in the middle of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.
Across the forests and prairies of Asia, and vast savannahs of Africa, live secret societies of tiny termite architects. They are masters of construction, their sophisticated green-energy designs perfectly adapted to their often hot and arid surroundings. Most homeowners are aware of the destructive power of an army of termites but the fungus termites of Southern Africa are the focus of life and regeneration on the African savannah. With the aid of fungus farms, tended deep within the nest, the termites of southern Africa transform wood and dead leaves into organic nutrients which sustain vegetation and provide shelter and food for the surrounding wildlife. The 33 pounds (15 kilograms) or so of termites in a typical mound will, in an average year, move a fourth of a metric ton (about 550 pounds) of soil and several tons of water. They are not only remarkable architects of their own living spaces but are an essential part of the ecosystem and survival of virtually all the life around them. Termites transform the ecosystem in a variety of complex ways. Termites import coarse particles into the otherwise fine soil in the vicinity of their mounds which promotes water infiltration of the soil. The mounds also show elevated levels of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. All this beneficial soil alteration appears to directly and indirectly mold the ecosystem far beyond the immediate vicinity of the mound.