One of my favourite spots in Cape Town has to be the beautiful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, which lives up to its reputation as the most beautiful garden in Africa and one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.
Did you know that Kirstenbosch is part of a nature reserve? The 36-hectare garden is part of a 528-hectare estate that contains protected mountainside supporting natural forest and fynbos along with a variety of animals and birds. The Kirstenbosch Estate borders the Table Mountain National Park and the Garden merges seamlessly with the natural fynbos and forest of the mountain.
These 36-hectares are a treasure trove of plantlife, birdlife, walking trails, rolling lawns, ponds and so much more. So the next time you visit, dig a little bit deeper and discover the beauty of nature.
Walks and Trails at Kirstenbosch
For those who want to venture to lofty heights, the two main walks to the top of the mountain are via Nursery Ravine and Skeleton Gorge. However, these routes are strenuous and should therefore only be attempted by the fit. Remember to take water, energy food, sunblock and a hat. Stick to the paths and do not pick or disturb any flora or fauna.
Free Guided Tours of the Garden leave from the Information Desk, Visitors’ Centre (Gate 1) at 10 am Mondays to Saturday. These guided tours are approximately 90 minutes long and are limited to 15 people at a time. It is a great way to get to know the Garden.
The Garden of Extinction is a theme garden that displays a selection of about 1500 South African plants that may soon be extinct in the wild, with information about what has caused this and what we can do about it.
The Fragrance Garden features plants with unusual textures and scents. Take a walk through this garden and enjoy the aromas.
The Forest Braille Trail is a short, self-guided trail passing through natural forest and over a patch of wetland.
The Fynbos Walk is a path that leads from the Rycroft Gate through the upper part of the Garde, planted with fynbos, a vegetation type unique to the Cape Floral Kingdom.
The Protea Garden displays members of this remarkably diverse plant family. Proteas and serrurias flower here in winter and spring, and pincushions flower in summer.
The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway is a new curved steel and timber bridge that winds and dips its way through and over the trees of the Arboretum. Inspired by a snake skeleton, and informally called ‘The Boomslang‘ (meaning tree snake), it is a low-maintenance, low-impact sculptural raised walkway.
The Walkway takes the visitor from the forest floor into and through the trees and bursts out above the canopy, giving spectacular panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains, Garden and Cape Flats.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
- Do discover pants and animals
- Do walk, hike, and explore
- Do some bird watching
- Do picnic on the lawns
- Do relax at concerts
- Do enjoy sculptures and art
- Do take photographs
- Do take your litter home
- Don’t disturb plants or animals
- Don’t bring balls, bikes or skateboards
- Don’t bring your pets
- Don’t bring radios, make noise or games
- Don’t climb trees or swim
- Don’t enter the flower beds
- Don’t litter or braai
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Telephone +27(0)21 799 8783
Ticket Office +27(0)21 799 8782
Garden Office (weekdays only)
+27(0)21 799 8899
The Garden is open 365 days a year, from 8 am – 6 pm daily during winter (April to August) and 8 am – 7 pm daily during summer (September – March).
The Conservatory is open from 9 am – 5 pm daily.
All visitor facilities are wheelchair-friendly. Kirstenbosch Garden is set on a very steep gradient and not all areas of the garden are accessible to wheelchairs.
Sep-Mar (Summer) Mon-Sun
Apr-Aug (Winter) Mon-Sun
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