Ninety-five percent of orchid species associated with fynbos shrublands of South Africa's Cape Floristic Kingdom have been assessed for the IUCN Red List, yet aspects of their demography and population biology remain poorly understood. We conducted a 6-year demographic study of the Critically Endangered Disa procera, a cryptic, terrestrial species from South Africa with a global population of c. 50 individuals known from a single location. We aimed to provide management recommendations that would facilitate its persistence. Our findings indicate that the population of D. procera is larger than previously thought, and the species occurs at two distinct locations. These orchids exhibit high interannual variation in population size and turnover of individuals, potentially indicative of a species with a short life span, and still meet the criteria for Critically Endangered status. The species benefits from disturbances, such as brush cutting along trails, or fire, which open up clearances in the vegetation. However, physical damage to plants during their aboveground growing season (September–January) is particularly detrimental and should be avoided in habitat management for the species. Fire had beneficial effects at the population and individual levels and is recommended at 10–25-year intervals, outside the orchid's growing season. The species exhibited comparatively high rates of fruit set (68%), suggesting that pollination limitation does not currently constrain its performance. Its patchy distribution may, however, indicate constraints on dispersal or recruitment. We recommend that management strategies should include continued protection and monitoring of both populations, studies on pollination, habitat requirements and mycorrhizal associates, and a prescribed disturbance regime.