St Francis Hiking and nature walks
Cape St Francis is home to no less than four nature reserves, Cape St Francis Nature Reserve, Seal Point Nature Reserve, Seal Bay Nature Reserve and Irma Booysen Flora Reserve.
These reserves offer a fine variety of walks. For downloadable maps and detailed information please visit our downloads page.
What is so special about these areas?
South Africa is extraordinarily rich in plant and animal life and scientists have classified the different kinds of vegetation across the land. The southwestern Cape region is especially blessed in plant species, so much so that it is recognized as one of only six Plant or Floral Kingdoms in the world. Known as the Cape Floral Kingdom, it extends roughly from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and inland, covering about 90,000 km2 and is home to 9,000 plant species, 70% of which grow nowhere else in the world (i.e. endemic to the Cape).
These plants are not scattered randomly across the landscape. Instead, from one hill to the next, different plant species grow together in their own communities. This means that the entire region is divided into these vegetation types, comprising plant species that grow in their particular area and nowhere else.
Our local vegetation type is the St Francis Fynbos/Thicket Mosaic and only grows on the lime-rich coastal sandy sites scattered between Tsitisikamma in the west and Port Elizabeth in the east. The conditions under which this vegetation type can grow is a relatively small area comprising 0.2% of the Cape region. Since European settlement it has undergone considerable damage and disturbance - by urbanization, agriculture, forestry and alien plant invasions. Much of our local Fynbos has been disturbed by alien plants and developments. As a result of this as well the threat of continued destruction, it has been classified as Critically Endangered and enjoys legislative protection.
Animals you may see
Look out for bushbuck, grysbok, common duiker, bushpig, porcupine, vervet monkey, caracal, yellow and grey mongoose and otters. You can sometimes see the rare African black oystercatcher and occasionally an endangered Jackass penguin. Bottlenose and common dolphins are often seen offshore and, from August to December, southern right whales may be spotted.
Some downloads of the walks and nature reserves around Cape St Francis
| Bay To Bay Walk
|| Blowhole Hike
|| Irma Booysen Floral Reserve & Walks
| Shark Point Walk
|| St Francis Reserve & Walks
|| Wild Side Meander
|| Birding At Cape St Francis