The award-winning Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is located on the slopes of Table Mountain and is part of the 528-hectare Table Mountain National Park. This protected mountainside supports a unique variety of natural flora including fragile fynbos species, which occur only in the Western Cape. Kirstenbosch is located in Claremont and easily accessed from accommodation establishments in the surrounding areas and in Cape Town itself via the M3.
Kirstenbosch is a regular award-winner at the annual Chelsea Flower show, held in England, and the exhibit is rebuilt at different local venues for the South African public to enjoy after the show. It is a great tribute to Kirstenbosch to be recognised at this prestigious international event from among 550 exhibits every year.
The Gardens have a reputation for being the most beautiful in Africa and is a great place to visit at any time of the year. If you would like to see the fynbos in bloom though, the best time to visit is from August to November.
Located in the diverse and unique Cape Floral Kingdom, Kirstenbosch is the first botanic garden to be included in a World Heritage Site and is the largest of the nine National Botanic Gardens in South Africa.
Over 7000 species of plant grow here, including some that would not normally survive on the slopes of Table Mountain. These specimens are cultivated in a specially made Conservatory designed for sensitive arid plants.
Apart from many hundreds of plant specimens to admire, Kirstenbosch offers a range of other attractions.
During summer, weekly concerts are held every Sunday which are a real hit with music fans, families and the performers themselves. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than listening to your favourite tunes surrounded by friends, pristine gardens and gorgeous views?
Art in the Garden consists of a variety of exhibitions scattered around the gardens, both indoors and out. Beautiful and unusual sculptures are found all over, special short-term exhibits are often displayed, and art-shows are held regularly in various venues across the gardens.
The most well-known exhibits are:
- The Sculpture Garden with a constantly changing display of original African stone sculptures, some of which available for purchase.
- The Dylan Lewis impala at the Centre for Home Gardening.
- The bust of Nelson Mandela just inside the Visitor’s Centre entrance.
- The Cape Clawless Otter sculpture in the Otter Pond.
There are three restaurants at Kirstenbosch – Moyo, Vida e Caffè and the Tea Room all serving up refreshing drinks, snacks and meals. Moyo is open for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings while the others are daytime venues only.
The latest addition at Kirstenbosch is an aerial walkway, nicknamed the Boomslang. This path winds through the trees and is not unlike a rollercoaster in looks, although it is modelled on the snake of the same name. The walkway is 130m long and provides elevated views of the Kirstenbosch Gardens and spectacular vistas of the mountainside. The opening of the Boomslang coincides with the Garden’s centenary and promises to keep visitors amused for many years to come.