The Overberg, can be easily called the heartland of the Cape Floral Kingdom with its diversity of protected areas and ecosystems that support a wide array of species in both the terrestrial and marine environments. Many of the species are threatened, many are endemic and some have global distributions of only a few hectares.
The protected areas include the De Hoop Nature Reserve and adjacent marine protected area, Kogelberg Biosphere, Agulhas National Park and the De Mond Nature Reserve. In addition, there are also numerous critically important wetlands and estuaries. Climate change with its associated increasing temperatures and reduced rainfall together with urban and commercial development pose the greatest threats to this globally important biodiversity hotspot.
1 of 20: An aerial view of the stunning Heuningness River and Estuary in the De Mond Nature Reserve.
2 of 20: The Overberg coastline is extremely diverse with rugged cliffs, extensive sandy beaches and intertidal rocky platforms.
3 of 20: Sand dunes are a nutrient interface between the ocean and the land with nutrients blowing in from the sea and then also from the dunes out to the ocean.
4 of 20: Isolated beaches showcase the incredible diversity of species from the oceans that get washed ashore onto the coast and form important nutrient bases.
5 of 20: A seldom seen and ususally nocturnal Tylos feeds on beach detritus.
6 of 20: Southern Right Whales use the sheltered bays of the Overberg to calve and mate.
7 of 20: A Hartlaubs Gull bows in display to another overflying gull.
8 of 20: The Overberg is an important feeding area for the endemic and scarse Black Harrier.
9 of 20: River and estuary systems in the Overberg are important feeding and breeding grounds for a suite of waterbirds that includes African Spoonbills.
10 of 20: The grain fields of the Overberg farmlands have provided increased food sources for South Africa's national bird, the Blue Crane. It is the only area where these birds thrive in numbers.
11 of 20: The Potberg Mountain in the De Hoop Nature Reserve is the only remaining location in the Western Cape where Cape Vultures breed.
12 of 20: The indigenous Fynbos is home to several endemic bird species including the Cape Sugarbird with its distinctive long tail.
13 of 20: A Cape Mountain Zebra herd feeds on the open grasslands in the De Hoop Nature Reserve at sunset.
14 of 20: An Eland calf pauses from feeding to look around it in the De Hoop Nature Reserve. De Hoop is the flagship protected area in the Overberg.
15 of 20: South Africa's national flower, the King Protea grows in the mountain ranges of the Overberg.
16 of 20: Rich in floral diversity, the fynbos in the Overberg also attracts a myriad of insect life.
17 of 20: Coastal mist and fog provides additional moisture during the dry season in the Overberg.
18 of 20: The iconic De Hoop Vlei is home to up to 30 000 waterbirds of numerous species on occassion.
19 of 20: During heavy rains, the large expanses of the Agulhas floodplain become a network of waterways that attract thousands of waterbirds.
20 of 20: The unique vegetation and habitats of the Overberg are home to countless range-restricted and highly endemic species including several reptiles such as this Southern Adder.