The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of those places that are a real surprise during a trip to Cape Town. A place located in the suburbs of the South African city and in the vicinity of Table Mountain.
This wonderful space, in its more than 500 hectares, combines the garden area with another much larger area of natural vegetation of extraordinary wealth. A marvel that is already part of the city’s heritage.
A little history of Kirstenbosch
We are talking about a botanical garden that is already over 100 years old. It was inaugurated in 1913 and, despite its age, it remains splendid. That is why it is considered the most beautiful of its kind in the entire continent and one of the most beautiful on the planet.
The site it originally occupies was owned by an English potentate and colonizer.: Cecil Rhodes. The same one that would give name to an invented country called Rhodesia and that included territories of the current Zambia and Zimbabwe. But that’s another story, now we are interested in Kirstenbosch.
The point is that when he died he left these lands to the British Crown. Over time, it was decided to create this national botanical garden there, dedicated especially to the conservation of local flora. And so it continues today.
The richness of this botanical garden
The great value of Kirstenbosch is that here is protected and displayed the fynbos. What’s that? The variety of bush flora unique to this area of the world. A vegetation that develops in the surroundings of Cape Town, in the vicinity of the sea and in a territory with very punctual rains.
It is a region with thousands of plant species and, curiously, the vast majority are endemic. That is, they only occur in this part of the planet. And all of them are collected in Kirstenbosch, where they are preserved and studied.
The Cape Floral Region, in which this botanical garden is inscribed, has been part of the list of World Heritage Sites since 2004.
When to visit the Cape Town Botanic Garden?
The Kirstenbosch, by its very nature, has a changing appearance at every moment of the year. Perhaps for this reason, you are wondering what is the best time to visit it. As well, possibly, the season of greatest splendor is spring of the southern hemisphere. It is the flowering season in the vast majority of species.
But the truth is that any time is a good time to visit, given its variety of plants and its richness. And don’t be scared, you don’t need to be an expert to enjoy this place. Even if you ignore species and names of plants, you will enjoy the beauty of the spectacle that nature offers us.
The Kirstenbosch areas
The Kirstenbosch it is the largest of the eight national botanic gardens in South Africa. So, given its enormous size, there are several areas of interest within it.
There is a space called a greenhouse, where the most typical species of the Cape region are. But there are other spaces, such as the rockery area or the path for the blind with plants with exuberant scents. And we must mention the Arboretum, which you can “fly over” thanks to an impressive bridge.
Excursions and activities
We have already said that Kirstenbosch is on the same slopes as Table Mountain, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. In other words, if you like nature, you have to visit this gem on your trip to Cape Town.
As well, you can do the skelenton gorge trailthe Skeleton Gorge, which starts from Kirstenbosch itself towards the slopes of Table Mountain.
Or if you prefer, from here and heading south, you can put on your boots to enter the Constantia Nek itinerary. And in the opposite direction, to the north, you can hike Devil’s Peak (Devil’s Peak) until you reach the Rhodes Memorial.
Nevertheless, there is another very frequent activity in these gardens. It is about going to their usual music concerts. Without a doubt, the environment is magical and it is an experience that can be a very pleasant memory of your trip to South Africa.