Some of the recognition Kirstenbosch has received include the International Garden Tourism Awards Body, which declared Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens the International Garden of the Year in 2015Kirstenbosch has won 29 gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show in 33 appearances.

A number of trails lead through natural forest and fynbos surrounding the developed garden. A map is obtainable from the Information Office for a nominal fee. These trails lead off along and up the mountain slopes and these are much used by walkers and mountaineers. One of the trails, up a ravine, called Skeleton Gorge, is an easy and popular route to the summit of Table Mountain. This route is also known as Smuts’ Track after Prime Minister Jan Smuts who used 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 kilometers and it will take the hiker past the Rhodes Memorial to the slopes of Devil’s Peak and beyond.

The main entrance at the Newlands end of the gardens is where you’ll find the information center, an excellent souvenir shop, and the conservatory. There is also a restaurant, self-service area, and tearoom, as well as a nursery.

The Botanical Society Conservatory enables Kirstenbosch to display South African plants which cannot be grown in the outdoor gardens. Here, under one roof, you will find plants from high mountain peaks, shady forests and hot, dry deserts. The main house, dominated by a large baobab tree, features succulents from the arid regions of southern Africa. Special collections of bulbs, ferns, and alpines are displayed in smaller corner houses.

There are a variety of gardens found within the Botanical Garden. The Peninsula garden displays some of the 2,500 plant species found in the Western Cape. The Water-wise garden demonstrates how to create a garden which needs far less water and maintenance than a conventional garden. The Fragrance garden features plants with interesting textures and scents. Visitors can find out about the many medicinal uses of South African plants at the Medicinal Garden. The Dell the oldest part of the Garden, featuring Colonel Bird’s Bath, tree ferns and a variety of shade-loving plants. The Protea garden features members of the protea family (Proteaceae). This part of the Garden is most magnificent in winter and spring, when the proteas, cone bushes, and serrurias are in flower. Pincushions provide a colorful display in early summer.

There is a bus service to Kirstenbosch from Cape Town and Mowbray Stations. To check the latest times, call the Information Office for details. See numbers below. By car, Kirstenbosch lies 13 km from Cape Town city center. From the city, take De Waal Drive (M3) in the direction of Muizenberg, at the first traffic light intersection turn right (southwards) into Rhodes Drive (M63) and follow the signs to Kirstenbosch.