Unsurpassed beauty and biodiversity in Plettenberg Bay

At Kwendalo, We believe that wellness comes in many forms: physical, spiritual, emotional, social, and mental, balancing each to create harmony within ourselves and our environment.  We are interested in sharing knowledge and encouraging our visitors to find wonder and joy in new experiences in an exquisite setting. It doesn’t get more unique than the Garden Route in South Africa.

To see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wildflower. To hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour

 – William Blake

Kwendalo is located in Plettenberg Bay, which lies in the heart of the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve. The biosphere reserve was designated by UNESCO in 2017, in large part due to the wild biodiversity of the Garden Route National Park and the discovery of a new species along the coastline of Plettenberg Bay. The new species, named Psoralea vanberkelae, has fine leaves and delicate violet colour – typical of the fynbos biome – and it is exceptional in its singular location.

Fynbos (translated from Dutch as fine-leafed plant) is a part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, which is the smallest, – yet most diverse – of all the plant kingdoms. It is this biodiversity that has helped to secure its status as a biosphere reserve, as 80% of the 9000 species are found nowhere else in the world. It is at the heart of this floral kingdom that Kwendalo is situated, a place of wonder – wild and beautiful.

A fine day for fynbos

Fynbos biomes contribute enormous variety to the Cape Floral Kingdom, and they are an awesome mix of delicate and hardy, spikey and elegant. Well-known fynbos species include the king protea, multi-coloured rica and, of course, honeybush and rooibos (red bush) teas. Both rooibos and honeybush teas are caffeine-free and slightly sweet. Their health benefits are thought to include improved sleep, digestive balance, better heart health, and mineral absorption.

The best way to get to the heart of the region and understand this uniquely South African landscape is to take a walk in the fynbos. Fynbos Hill at Kwendalo is a good place to start; and there are several hikes along the coastline for those wishing to explore even more of this fascinating flora.

Interestingly, fire is a major influence on fynbos. It must burn at between 6 and 45 years of age in order to sustain its plant species. Many plants will store their fruit (and seeds) in fire-safe cones which then regenerate after the fire. Without fire, fynbos would become senescent, and forest or thicket elements would begin to invade. For us, this is a wonderful metaphor for growth, patience, and transformation.

Refresh in the forest

Another special biome of the Cape Floral Kingdom is the Southern Afrotemperate Forest – a subspecies of the sub-tropical Afromontane Forest. The two largest forests are located on either side of Plettenberg Bay – in Knysna and Tsitsikamma – and they are places where the earth speaks volumes: in silence, in a bubbling stream, in wind-rustled tree branches, and the eerie call of the Knynsa turaco. These green castles are tall, dense, and species-rich, supported by our warm, moist and temperate climate. The highest canopy is formed from the entwined crowns of the tallest trees, sometimes 30m from the forest floor. Under-stories are formed by medium-sized trees and the forest floor is a carpet of indigenous shrubs, ferns, bushes, and flowers. The Tsitsikamma Forest alone boasts 116 different species of giant tree. These forests are home to hundreds of birds, reptiles, small animals and, in the case of the Knysna Forest, the last few wild Knysna Elephants. The giant yellowwood trees, some 800 years old, have stood guard over the ancient forest for centuries – each individual tree with strong, deep roots and branches that reach towards the sun.

At Kwendalo, we believe in a personalised approach to wellness and growth. Our visitors are as unique as each giant tree. We encourage you to meditate on the history and wonders of the Garden Route and the Cape Floral Kingdom to immerse yourself in its natural abundance.

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Author: Janet Middleton – social media and marketing communications at Kwendalo.


More To Explore

Colourful Collaboration with Kate Muller from Creative Nature

We want to extend our sincere gratitude to Kate Muller from Creative Nature for her incredible generosity in donating fynbos...

Kwendalo Conversations – 18 April 2024

Vina Zaayman (aka Lycan) has become well-known to local nature lovers through her curation of the popular Plett Nature Whatsapp group.