The GCBR is located in the southern part of South Africa, across parts of the Western, Southern and Eastern Cape. It is an incredibly unique place in that it is the only area in the world where three global biodiversity hotspots converge: the Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Maputoland-Tongoland-Albany hotspots.
On the 9th June 2015 UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) approved the designation of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR) as South Africa’s 7th, and largest biosphere reserve – at 3 187 893 hectares!
Furthermore, UNESCO approved the serial extension of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas (CFRPA) World Heritage Site within the domain, which added to formally protected areas as part of the CFRPA World Heritage Site.
The GCBR is characterised by high endemism of plant species, which means they occur nowhere else on earth. At least 670 of the approximately 5,000 plant species present are endemic to the Biosphere Reserve. Even the arid inland portion of the region is rich in endemic species, with at least 400 of the 3,200 plant species restricted to the Biosphere Reserve. They are, in other words, irreplaceable: if we lose them they are gone, forever. It is simply impossible to overestimate the importance of our region’s biodiversity – for us and for the rest of the world. It is one of the key reasons why UNESCO has declared this area as an international Biosphere Reserve.