Whether you’re a die-hard nature enthusiast, moderate lover off all things green or if you merely appreciate the simple beauty nature has to offer, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is an absolute MUST! Most people think they should be head-over-heels, I’m-all-in, balls-to-the-walls nature extremists before they pay a visit to this world-renowned Cape Town location, but let me tell you a secret, that couldn’t be further from the truth! I’ll be the first to admit that when my head-over-heels-in-love-with-nature brother suggested we go to Kirstenbosch gardens on a day out exploring Cape Town, the first thought that ran through my mind was ‘Uhmmm this is CAPE TOWN, there is SO much to do & see, and now you want me to go walk through a garden for an entire day?? I’ll give that one a HARD pass!’ But man oh man was I wrong, and I’m SO happy about it! And here are a couple of reasons why you’ll be happy you did it too:
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- II’S KIRSTENBOSCH NATIONAL BOTANTICAL GARDENS: It is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world, it has won the highly esteemed ‘International Garden of the Year’ award, and very few gardens can actually match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch. So, OF COURSE IT’S GOING TO BE INCREDIBLE! Kirstenbosch National Botanical gardens gives nature the perfect setting to be MORE! More striking, more powerful, more impactful. It creates a stage where nature has the power to not only amaze us, but to influence us and change our perspective. And let me tell you, it certainly changed mine. And it will certainly change yours too.
- The treetop canopy walkway: Believe me, this is EVERY bit as cool as it sounds! This is indeed Kirstenbosch Garden’s newest attraction and one you MUST experience for yourself. 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. Informally called the ‘Boomslang’, due to its structure and design being inspired by a snake skeleton. I certainly hope I’m not alone in saying that I would much rather call it the Centenary Tree Canopy walkway – it might not roll off the tongue quite as well, but at least it’s not a snake. Yes, you’re indeed correct in concluding that I’m no fan of snakes. But that’s beside the point. The point is this spectacular aerial walkway gives you a near birds-eye view of the magnificent trees within the gardens below and it’s quite magical to witness.
- It is considered as one of the BEST picnic spots in the Mother City: IT’S PICNIC TIME! There are few things as special as sharing a picnic in a magnificent setting – and Kirstenbosch certainly provides you with all of that and a bag of chips! Time to pack your picnic basket (tackling the city’s local markets for some home-grown produce and yummy picnic treats is in itself a pretty cool experience), throw down your blanket, put on those sunnies, stretch out, get comfortable and have yourself a grand’ol time because you sure are in for one spectacular afternoon – and doing this in one of Cape Town’s most spectacular settings right at the base of Table Mountain makes it that much more special!
- TABLE MOUNTAIN: This brings me to my next point, Table Mountain. If you know me, you know I just can’t help but love myself a good dose of Table Mountain – this is one Mother City view I can never get enough off. And the best part is Kirstenbosch Gardens is located right at the base of it. Viewing this spectacular Cape Town landmark from this close is something pretty extraordinary. Plus, you can even start your Table Mountain hike right here from Kirstenbosch gardens. It is however important to make sure you’re energetic, amped up and on top of your hiking game before deciding to do it. The five-hour Skeleton Gorge hike is well-known, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s easy. But once you accomplish it you will feel pretty darn INCREDIBLE that’s for sure! And the VIEW, wow, the view will be out of this world!
- It has a little bit of everything: There is absolutely no denying the fact that Kirstenbosch is one magnificent Nature’s paradise. South Africa is well known for its natural beauty, but nowhere else is there a better showcase of the indigenous natural beauty than at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. It is also known as the Cape’s floral kingdom – and with so many beautiful flowers on display you can’t help but love every bit of Kirstenbosch’s FLOWER POWER! At Kirstenbosch you even get the opportunity to seek out a waterfall! A network of paths crosses much of the garden, ranging from super hard-core hikes to gentle strolls. However if you follow the Yellowwood trail you will reach a permanent waterfall where the gardens meet Table Mountain. But besides all of that, Kirstenbosch also features a bird list that boasts 125 species. You may even see tortoises, small antelope or the Cape clawless otter. Now that’s what I call a little bit of EVERYTHING!
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- Music Concerts: Time to get your jam on! During the Mother City’s summer months, the gardens are a popular venue for music concerts. You’d be hard pushed to find a better backdrop for a concert, that’s for sure. Kirstenbosch is well known for staging various sunset and Sunday afternoon concerts featuring some of South Africa’s most loved and famous bands and performers. This is definitely a Kirstenbosch fan-favourite and after attending just one of these events you’ll know exactly why!
- Join a free guided tour: At first glance Kirstenbosch gardens can merely look like large lawns, trees and flowers, but this is not at all the case! There are various themed gardens looking at indigenous species, medicinal plants, and endangered plants, just to mention a few. But one of the best ways to experience these magical gardens is definitely on a free guided tour. The walks also highlight whatever is flourishing that season and really allow you to experience parts of the gardens that you might not find by yourself. Yes, these guys are definitely the experts, so let them do their thing.
- You get to eat GREAT food: MOYO! Perched right next to the entrance of the gardens you’ll find this super incredible taste sensation. MOYO offers so much more than just traditional face painting, they are also known for their pan-African menu that features various South African classics as well as a variety of African-fusion dishes. BUT, you should DEFINITELY also do the face painting, its super cool and you feel like a total boss! During peak season you will even get to experience performances of African song and dance, how incredible is that!
As you can see, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens really offers the FULL experience. This is definitely a Cape Town bucket list item you absolutely MUST tick off!
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