The city of Cape Town, South Africa’s most southwestern city, sits on a peninsula in the heart of the geographically restricted Cape Floristic Region, which is home to exceptional biodiversity. Within the city boundary are some 3,350 plant species, 190 of which are endemic to the city itself. Like all South African cities, Cape Town continues to grapple with development discrepancies that persist from unjust apartheid governance in the past and present-day challenges of urban sprawl. The population of the city is 3.7 million. Extreme poverty, with nearly 17 % unemployment, and extensive informal settlements characterize much of the City and stand in stark contrast to wealthy suburbs with freestanding homes. For the populace of Cape Town, the natural environment presents both considerable ecosystem service advantage with, for example, a flourishing tourism industry and provisioning opportunities for the urban poor, but also a significant hazard with, for example, exposure to flooding in winter from a high water table. The value of ecosystem services is an emerging concept in the environmental management arena, and environmental and conservation issues are still seen as separate to other areas of city development, and tend to receive a lower prioritization. South Africa has good environmental legislation, but this is sometimes weakly enforced due to conflicting demands, fiscal constraints, and/or lack of implementation mechanisms. Climate change predictions for the region suggest likely biodiversity impacts, but how these will play out remain unknown. An emerging interest in the role of ecosystem services in broader City management and novel conservation approaches involving civic interests all show considerable promise for the conservation of urban biodiversity in the city of Cape Town.