Last year (2009) marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. For those who don’t know, it was his theories and research that provided a scientific base for understanding how life on earth has become so diverse. The exciting but rathe
r unknown bit of information related to this is that on his Voyage around the world, Darwin spent a bit of time at the Cape Colony. He arrived to stay in Simons Town and corresponded with naturalists at the Cape whilst adding to his research. Among the people he met here was Sir John Herschel, the leading British scientist of the day. Herschel revealed the geological origins of the greater Cape area to Darwin as well as gave him an introduction to the local Floral Kingdom: Fynbos. Although not all that much was published about the encounters at the Cape, some notes on Fynbos were made. Fynbos as an icon of diversity would probably have intrigued Darwin more if he had a little more time to spend here.