The Irma Booysen Flora Reserve can be entered at various points in Cape St Francis, and has well marked intertwining routes through the reserve. The trees are marked for easy identification, and benches are placed throughout the reserve to enjoy the view over the headland with two points, unique in the world.
Conservation of the reserve was due to the late Irma Booysen, wife of founder of Cape St Francis Jim Booysen. Her family were the original owners of the farm Ongegunde Vryheid. During the development of the farm to a township, Irma persuaded her husband to set aside a tract of land for the preservation of the unique coastal fynbos (delicate bush) of the area. She was a great lover of nature. She painted the many diverse species of plants in the Reserve.
Fynbos is the term given to the vegetation typical of the South Western Cape, where wet winter rains and hot, dry summers occur. The term ‘fyn’ denotes the fine structure of the leaves of most fynbos plants. The area is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest kingdom but with the most species (there are 7 floral kingdoms in the world).
The fynbos in our region is called dune fynbos and is particularly rich in species. Many are endemic (occur nowhere else) to the region. Unfortunately, it is highly fragile and easily destroyed or altered by human activities. Much of the veld is now in danger of becoming extinct due to overdevelopment, extensive farming and the encroachment of the Australian Wattle, Rooikrants.
A walk in our Reserves at springtime will convince you of the fact that the Cape Floral Kingdom has the most species. You may be familiar with a particular scent associated with Cape St Francis. This is given off by a particular species called a Garlic Buchu. A myriad of interesting insects, reptiles, small animals and birds inhabit the Reserve.