Kogelberg biosphere reserve





General description

Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve is situated in the Western Cape Province, within 40 km from Cape Town. This first South African biosphere reserve covers 103,629 hectares, where more than 80% consist of mountainous landscape with high mountain peaks and deep valleys to gentle hills and lower mountain slopes. The remaining area is made up of a gently rolling coastal plain as well as a marine part that covers some 24,500 hectares. The coastline is mostly rocky with some sandy beaches and estuaries.

It is the floristic heart of the smallest of the world’s floral kingdoms (Cape floral kingdom) and it provides habitat for approximately 1,600 plant taxa of which an estimated 150 taxa are endemic to the area and characteristic of the Fynbos biome. The marine environment is part of the warm temperate south coast, and is subject to nutrient- upwelling events that support a highly productive and diverse marine community.   
About 60,000 permanent residents live in the biosphere reserve plus up to 50,000 non-permanent inhabitants, who use their properties only during holidays and weekends (2004).

Main economic activities in the area include deciduous fruit farming, wine production, flower production, fruit processing, commercial plantations of pines, and tourism. Tourism, specifically eco-tourism, has the potential of becoming one of the major economic activities in the region, with some 60,000 people visiting the area during the holiday season. Environmental education for school children and students is provided in the region. A private non-profit company, that is steered by a board of directors, manages the biosphere reserve. All stakeholders in the region can become members of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve Company and thus have an input into the actions of the company.

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Major ecosystem type

Evergreen sclerophyllous forest, Fynbos shrublands, Coastal marine.

Major habitats and land cover types 

Coastal plain and mountains. Fynbos vegetation; riparian vegetation; coastal lakes, marshes and bogs; rivers, lagoons and estuaries; sand dunes; marine habitats; agricultural land; pasture land; plantations; residential areas; reservoirs.


34°04' to 34°24'S; 18°48' to 19°12'E

Area (hectares)

Total: 103,629
Core area(s): 31,629 (of which marine: 1,629)
Buffer zone(s): ~40,000 (of which marine: ~ 23,000)
Transition area(s) when given: ~32,000

Altitude (metres above sea level) 0 to + 1,268

Year designated 1998

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Administrative authorities

Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve Company, steered by an elected Board of Directors and advised by a Management Committee representing all major stakeholders including CapeNature, Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Overberg District Municipality, Overstrand Municipality,and Theewaterskloof Municipality.


Research and monitoring

Brief description

  • Environmental change, Fynbos ecology, fire ecology.
  • The biology and status of stocks of abalone and rock lobster.
  • Catchment management plan for the Palmiet River.
  • Fresh water ecology.
  • Marine socio-economic and co-management studies, marine integrated management plans.
  • Database on fire incidences
  • Weather monitoring
  • Alien vegetation monitoring
  • Rare and threatened species monitoring
  • Bird surveys
  • National frog atlas
  • Criteria for selecting South African biosphere reserves


Specific variables

Hydrology, meteorology

Vegetation, mammals, birds, invertebrates/insects/spiders, marine living resources


  • Fisheries and impact of seasonal workers
  • Illegal harvesting of marine resources and social impacts thereof.

Integrated monitoring:

  • Environmental change, management issues, planning and zoning measures/zonation, river health monitoring.
  • Monitoring of effectiveness of the biosphere reserve company structure.
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Contacts details

Contact address

Ms Songvei Cluver (Chair person)
Tel: +2721  844 0605
Fax: +2721 844 0155

Ms Chantal Minnaar (Administrative Assistant)
Tel: +2728 271 4792
Fax: +2786 611 5900
E-mail: cminnaar@kingsley.co.za

Mthimkhulu Village
Main Road
South Africa

PO Box 200
South Africa

Website: http://www.kogelbergbiospherereserve.co.za

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