Tell me your favorite native plant hikes in the area for late Jan.
It will be my first visit to South Africa
I wish I were you! Don't miss visiting the world-renowned Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens! There's a huge amount of information about it on the web.
I also suggest a hike up Table Mountain! A tram can also take you to the top, but hiking up is not really too strenuous, and you'll see many additional botanical niches, including tropically humid creek beds and waterfalls with wonderful plant life growing on their steep banks and cliffs.
Stroll along Adderley (a boulevard) and you can admire the beautiful hedges, vines and flowers in the park, take a break in the Tea Garden, and spend a fascinating hour or two walking among the exhibits in the Company (Botanical) Museum.
If you can make time to travel a little further afield, I highly recommend a day trip to hike around the Cape Point Nature Reserve, where you can take short hikes or walk for endless hours among spectacularly beautiful and dense "feinboss" fields of Proteas and S. African heaths, or prowl the beach to study the aquatic plants that also abound (from tidal pool tinies to huge and smelly ropes of kelp anchored farher out). Bird and animal life also abound there, from glittery bee eaters to ostriches to blesbock antelope. The reserve is my favorite, and the one I would choose if I had to make a choice.
Sala kakuhle and hamba kahle!
Cranebill's advice is good. I'll add some in case you are mobile and want to get out of Cape Town a bit (and away from tourists). The Kogelberg reserve is less than an hour's drive on the other side of False Bay (breathtakingly beautiful drive!), and is a pristine biosphere with endless varieties of fynbos. We hiked there in November, and everything was in bloom; not sure about January. After Kogelberg you can drive into Hermanus, a charming little burg that reaches its peak when whales are in town (they leave by December).
A little closer to Cape Town is the Jonkershoek reserve on the edge of Stellenbosch. A 5k hike will take you to a nice waterfall, and we saw much in bloom in December. You can then take in a meal at one of the wineries (Delheim has an outdoor restaurant that's very casual and quite nice with a view of Table Mtn in the distance.)
Enjoy Â you'll love it!
Rondebosch Common has a network of paths where you're likely to see a wealth of fynbos species, particularly bulbs and other geophytes. Its easily accessible and best of all its free. Tokai forest is another spot jampacked with interesting species, not many tourists know of this spot (its a locals secret) some amazing orchid species can be seen here. Or you could try Signal hill, along with the plants there are some amazing views of the city and the peninsula beyond!