Animals and plants
There's more to South African wildlife than the celebrated "Big Five". From big to
small, meat eater to ant eater, primate to reptile ... our animals (and birds) are wild,
varied and abundant.
South Africa's large areas of semi-desert scrub and grassland might suggest a
certain poverty of plant life. Aside from the fact that a tract of pristine grassland
can hold up to 60 grass species, nothing could be further from the truth.
South Africa ranks as one of the top birding destinations in the world, offering an
unbeatable combination of variety of birds, well-developed transport networks, and
a user-friendly and supportive birding tourism industry.
Visitors to South Africa are always keen to see the country's celebrated Big Five –
neglecting a wealth of smaller wildlife. To remedy this, some clever people came up
with another must-see list, the Little Five: elephant
shrew, ant lion
weaver and leopard
The Cape Floral Region, one of South Africa's eight World Heritage sites, comprises eight protected areas stretching from the Cape Peninsula to the Eastern Cape, cutting across spectacular mountain and ocean scenery and containing some of the richest plant biodiversity in the world.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of the jewels of South Africa's coastline, with a
unique mosaic of ecosystems - swamps, lakes, beaches, coral reefs, wetlands,
woodlands, coastal forests and grasslands - supporting an astounding diversity of
animal, bird and marine life.
Whether you're looking for information on a seaslug named after Nelson Mandela or
advice on how to deal with fig tree-eating beetles, Museum Online South Africa's
Biodiversity Explorer will answer all your questions - and a lot more.