Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden truly deserves being #1 in South Africa's Top 10 Botanical Gardens, thanks to its stunning scenery, diverse flora, themed gardens and the immense delight its brings to all who experience her.
These botanical gardens, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are a must-see for anyone visiting Cape Town. About 9000 of Southern Africa's 22 000 plant species are grown in Kirstenbosch.
There is a Fragrance Garden, which is elevated so you can more easily sample the scents of the plants; a Braille Trail so blind people can visualise where they are; a Kopjie (hill) that has been planted with pelargoniums; a Water-Wise Garden; a Sculpture Garden; and a section for useful plants; and a section of the wild almond hedge was planted in 1660 by Jan van Riebeeck to form the boundary of the Dutch outpost.
Officially founded in 1913, thanks, in part, to the volunteer efforts of Cambridge University Professor Henry Harold Pearson, Kirstenbosch was the first botanical garden in the world established to protect a country's fauna and flora, placing a strong emphasis on the cultivation of indigenous plants. Buried in his beloved gardens in 1916, Pearson's epitaph is still there today, and reads, "If ye seek his monument, look around".
In 2008, the Kirstenbosch exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show won a gold medal for the most creative display, and the President's Cup - a new award by the Royal Horticultural Society President, Peter Buckley, to his favourite stand.
The Tree Canopy Walkway (informally known as the 'Boomslang' meaning tree snake) was added to the Kirstenbosch Garden for its Centenary in 2013. This remarkable curvaceous steel and timber bridge rises through the trees and provides amazing views.
Trails of History
From the gardens, several trails lead off along and up the Table Mountain slopes and are frequently used by walkers and mountaineers. One of the trails leads up a ravine called Skeleton Gorge, and is an easy and popular route to the summit of Table Mountain. This route is also known as Smuts' Track, after former prime minister Jan Smuts who used to hike this route regularly.
On the slopes above the cultivated parts of the garden, a contour path leads through forests to Constantia Nek to the south. The same contour path can be followed to the north for many kilometres taking the hiker past the Rhodes Memorial, to the slopes of Devil's Peak and beyond.
Summer Concerts at Kirstenbosch
On Sundays, during the summer months from December to March, sunset musical concerts are held on stage at the stunning Kirstenbosch amphitheatre. Previous performing artists are Michael Buble, Watershed, Katie Melua, Josh Groban and Bryan Adams
Catering to your every need is an excellent coffee shop, and a Visitors' Centre, which includes an information desk containing a variety of botanical information.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens:
Address: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden | Rhodes Drive | Newlands | Cape Town | Contact Number: +27 (0)21 799 8783
Adults: R55 pp | Students: R30 pp | Children (6-17): R15 |(under 6): Free
April - August (winter): Monday to Sunday, 08:00-18:00
September - March (summer): Monday to Sunday, 08:00-19:00
Conservatory: Monday to Sunday, 09:00-17:00
Article sources: Wiki / SouthAfrica.net / LonelyPlanet / CitySiteSeeing/ Cape Travel