The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) is a key focus area within southern Africa due to its botanical importance in terms of high levels of biodiversity as well as its rich cultural and archaeological heritage. The area is sensitive to cycles of regional and global environmental change, and palynological records obtained from the region can potentially provide valuable information regarding past vegetation dynamics and climate variability. Prior to the last decade, few high resolution palaeoenvironmental records were recovered from the CFR, and therefore its Late Quaternary environmental history was previously poorly understood. Significant progress was made over recent years and a considerable body of new palynological (as well as palaeoclimatological) evidence emerged. These new records provide greater insight into the nature and timing of past vegetation shifts and improve our understanding of how different subregions of the CFR have responded to past climate changes. They also highlight that there is a much higher degree of complexity, in terms of both vegetation and climate change, than previously thought. This paper provides a perspective on the progress made towards elucidating the palaeoecological history of the CFR, it highlights the importance of continuing and expanding upon the existing body of work and outlines current and future directions for palynological research in this hyper-diverse southwestern corner of southern Africa.