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“YOUR PLACE IN THE KOGELBERG: A guide to living and gardening in harmony with the Kogelberg Biosphere”, by Tim Attwell

Tim Attwell’s book, Your place in the Kogelberg, was aptly launched at the Nivenia Hall of the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens in Betty's Bay on 23 May 2015.

Aimed at residents of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, this publication will do much to preserve the ecology of the area as it faces increasing structural development. Your place in the Kogelberg explains, in simple terms, the natural heritage of the area and how residents and developers can protect and nurture the biodiversity that surrounds them and derive pleasure from gardening in harmony with nature.


Tim Attwell's book was enthusiastically received by more than 100 people at the launch in Betty's Bay on 23 May 2015. Tim is flanked by the two guests of honour – Nicolette Botha-Gurthrie, Mayor of the Overstrand and Zaitoon Rabaney, Executive Director of the Botanical Society of South Africa.

Commissioned and funded by the Kogelberg branch of the Botanical Society of South Africa, the Education Fund of the Botanical Society of South Africa and the Overstrand Municipality, the book is filled with anecdotes and interesting facts and is as engaging as it is educational.

The area is known for its spectacular biodiversity, both plant and animal, forming a delicate and vulnerable web of life. Animal life in the area includes baboons, klipspringers, dassies, porcupines, rooikat, Cape grysbok, large and small grey mongooses, Cape clawless otters, Cape wild cats and the little striped mouse, amongst others. It is also home to the dominant leopard for hundreds of square kilometres who goes by the name of Scott.


Tim Attwell autographing books at the book launch


Merrilee Berrisford, Chairman of the Kogelberg Branch of the Botanical Society, Emma Attwell, designer and editor of the book, Tim Attwell and Zaitoon Rabaney

Bird life includes endangered African penguins, oyster catchers, fish eagles, peregrine falcons, rock kestrels, African marsh-harriers and even Verreaux’s eagles. However, the area is best known for its variety of fynbos. Each type is unique and requires a different approach when preparing a garden. Such rich biodiversity is incredibly sensitive to development and is easily disturbed by alien invasive vegetation.


Attending the launch of Tim Attwell's book, is distant relative, Jill Attwell, who, at 92 years, is one of the oldest members of the Kogelberg Branch of the Botanical Society of South Africa.

Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos has a staggering number of plants that occur nowhere else in the world, including over fifty Erica species. In the Overberg Dune Strandveld of Rooiels and surrounds you can expect to find the gorgeous cliff gladiolus, Gladiolus carmineus amongst the endemic plants.

Native to Hangklip Sand Fynbos is the fast-disappearing Muraltia minuta, with its tiny sweetpea-like flowers. Western Coastal Shale Band Vegetation includes the famous Waboom (Protea nitida), which provided wheel rims and brake blocks for wagons in the old days. Cape Seashore Vegetation produces a spectacular show of rankbietou - white daisies with purple centres (Dimorphotheca fruticosa) - in late winter and spring. Cape Lowland Freshwater Wetlands can boast the sweet-scented and edible white waterblommetjies (Aponogeton distachyos) and finally Southern Afrotemperate Forest is home to the stately yellowwood trees of the genus Podocarpus and the white alder or witels (Platylophus trifoliatus), which can grow to 30 metres and is found only in the Southern Afrotemperate Forests of the south western and southern Cape.

The author, Tim Attwell, first visited the Kogelberg area in his teens in the 1960s and was enchanted. He has owned property in Betty’s Bay since the late 1990s and settled permanently here with his wife, Barbara, early in 2012. A writer and qualified nature and mountain guide, Tim Attwell is obsessively inquisitive about the natural environment in general and fynbos in particular, especially the fynbos of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, epicentre of the Cape Floristic Region.

In Betty's Bay Your place in the Kogelberg is available at the Harold Porter Gardens entrance and at Penguin Place in Clarence Drive. It is also available at Pringle Bay Books and at the Botanical Society Bookshop at Kirstenbosch. The recommended retail price is R120.00. The book will be on sale at talks hosted by the Kogelberg Branch of the Botanical Society in Betty's Bay for R90.00.