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The secret garden: How fynbos infuses Banhoek Chilli Oil with South African heritage

At first glance fynbos is a low-lying, scrubland vegetation that carpets the landscape in olive green and grey tones. It’s easy to miss the beauty of fynbos and you must look closely to appreciate its amazing diversity and, especially in flowering season, its riot of colours.

Stretching from the Cape Peninsula to the Eastern Cape, this area of 90 000km2 is known as the Cape Floral Kingdom – the smallest of the six plant kingdoms but the most rare, diverse and dense. There are nearly 9 000 different plant species, with 69% endemic to the area, meaning you won’t find them anywhere else on the planet.

Despite its size, it’s home to 3% of the world’s plant species and an impressive 20% of the African continent’s, making the area more botanically diverse than the Amazon rainforest. It’s one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hot spots and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fynbos grows in impressive environments that are not particularly nourishing, from sandy soils to limestone cliffs and the slopes of rugged mountains. Apart from their ability to survive in these thin soils, fynbos is also dependent on periodic fire for regeneration.

As far as uses for fynbos, they’re as varied as the species. Medicine, cosmetics, food, wine and gin, these are just some ways the unique floral notes and taste flavours of fynbos are infused into products. But the most famous use is rooibos tea, loved and appreciated around the world.

The earthy fynbos influence is also felt in the Banhoek Valley, in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, where the chillies for Banhoek Chilli Oil are grown, and in the Overberg, home to golden canola fields and our canola (rapeseed) oil.

These unique-tasting ingredients pay homage to the country’s natural heritage and infuse Banhoek Chilli Oil with a depth of flavour that’s captures the spirit of South Africa and is unmatched in the world.