A Botanical Discovery of Cape Fynbos

Join mountain guide Justin Hawthorne for a 1-on-1 ONLINE experience delving into all things FYNBOS!

Envisage you’re in the field with me, walking the mountains of the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa as we discover the beauty found within the Cape Floral Kingdom.

Of course, however, I’m at home in a fairly quiet suburb in greater Cape Town surrounded by sandstone mountains covered in incredible fynbos. I’ll be bringing specimens from the garden inside to discuss all things FYNBOS with you!

The southwestern Cape of South Africa is home to the richest floral kingdom on earth – namely the Cape! The dominant biome found within the Cape Floral Kingdom is the Fynbos biome which in itself comprises over 8000 plant species within the two vegetation groups of Fynbos and Renosterveld.

This is a virtual introduction into what makes fynbos, fynbos!

I bring samples from the garden to my desk, showcasing the diversity of what is known as “Fynbos” – an evergreen shrubland (think “Heathland”) of predominantly small, fine and hard leaved plants. After ‘defining’ it we’ll look at just how to ‘identify’ it by showing physical specimens along with personal photographs and interpretations. The diversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom, specifically Fynbos, is unmatched and sparkling with incredible floral delights.

You may already know some of our Fynbos species as many have been taken across the world. Plant families that you’re familiar with are represented here too such as the Iris, Orchids, Daisy/Sunflower, Rose, Geranium, Citrus and many more.

We discuss the geology and soil types, climate, fire, pollinators, ecosystems, threats and conservation efforts including what I do as a guide.

The focus of the conversation references the Cape Peninsula, what I know best, but we jump to other parts of the biome such as life in the Cederberg or the Boland and the general discussion in translatable to fynbos as a whole.

Don’t fear! This is not a botany lecture, but rather a glimpse into the incredible beauty found at this hottest of bio-diverse hotspots all the way down at the Cape of Good Hope. It may just give evermore reason to lace up your hiking boots and come to explore our floral wonderland when on foot!


Fynbos? What’s fynbos? BOOK! You’ll discover an incredible corner of the planet, filled with amazing beauty and you’ll want to learn about and experience fynbos for the rest of your life.

You’re a local mountain user in Cape Town but want to learn more about fynbos? So many walkers, hikers and runners spend many hours each year in the Cape mountains, enjoying the natural environment but don’t really delve into the nitty-gritty regarding fynbos. Join me for a 1-on-1 discussion to learn more about fynbos and the Cape Floral Kingdom and soon you’ll be identifying plants on the trail while sharing the love for fynbos with your friends and family.

You’re South African and know what fynbos is? Well, why not ask those bugging questions that pop into your head while hiking or running the Cape mountains…there’s always more to discover when talking fynbos!

You’ve hiked with me before? Awesome! Ever more reason to book as you’ll know what I’m all about. This online experience is a great opportunity to further your understanding of fynbos, ask me to ID some of those photos you took on the trail with me or just want to revisit the mountains virtually!

You’re interested in gardening? Brilliant! If you live in the southwestern Cape or another Mediterranean-type climate region in the world you’ll appreciate the value of planting water-wise, and indigenous.

Looking for tips on what species to plant in your Cape Town garden? I’ll share recommendations of good fynbos species that will do well based on where you live.

Keen to attract more faunal life into your garden? Birds, bees, butterflies…get more life into your garden by planting wisely. I’ll share tips on what can be planted to turn your little garden into a botanical garden bustling with life!

Will school children enjoy it? Yes they will. I enjoy walking with all ages, and youngsters are always keen to learn about new things. This is really cool for any high school learner doing biology as it’ll bring some of those text books to life.

Should you do this if you plan to hike with me in the future? This is also a great experience to do BEFORE heading onto the mountain with me or without me. It’ll give you an excellent foundation to better understand just what fynbos is prior to getting into the field.

Do this online experience and add your outdoor classroom on the mountain with me by booking HERE

What is fynbos though? Well, simply put when hiking in the Cape Mountain we’re generally walking through it. Not always, but most of the time! Key families to look out for include the Protea, Erica and Restio families…however this is an incredibly broad statement! Join me in conversation for the full story…


These are your taller plants, including a few tree proteas, with broader leaves and often very bold flowers.


The classic ‘fynbos’ looking shrubs with fine leaves and delicate little flowers.


The defining element of fynbos are the Cape Reeds or restios – grasslike plants with reduced leaves

Disa uniflora (Red Disa) is one of the jewels found within the Fynbos biome.

What do guests have to say about a day in the field with me…

Justin has a wealth of knowledge and his love for fynbos and the area really shines through. It was a delight to stop and inspect and talk about the different plants (and bugs and birds) we spotted and to learn about the ecosystem. The hike itself is easy-going with amazing views – it was great to pause at the top of the mountain for a snack and drink to take that all in. If you want to learn about fynbos and love stopping for “the little things”, this walk is definitely a must!


Let’s get talking, fynbos!

How to book

  • Email me at justinhawthorneblog@gmail.com to set up a date and time
  • Pay $10 via Paypal which will confirm your booking

How does it work

  • It’s 1 hour long (60 minutes) one-on-one experience
  • You’ll need ZOOM – via which we’ll videochat
  • I’ll send you the link to your scheduled online experience
  • Sign in 5 minutes prior to the experience to ensure all is working
  • A pen and notepad is useful.
  • All set!
In the field interpreting the natural environment
A Botanical Discovery of Cape Fynbos with Justin Hawthorne

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