South Africa is a place that is known to steal the hearts of people in the most captivating of ways. With locations of great tourism such as Table Mountain, Muizenberg beach, and Bo-Kaap, there is a wide variety of things to do. However, one location puts the ecological beauty of Cape Town at the forefront – Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.
Located in the Newlands of Cape Town, and situated at the base of the famous Table Mountain, it is a major site for hiking trails in the region. Boasting in some of the most alluring and wild flora in South Africa, it should not be missed.
How to get there?
If you fear getting to the Kirstenbosch Gardens will be a hassle, think again!
It is accessible via car or bus.
If you are driving, you will easily be able to find free parking on site. The most common locations are Gate 1 (the visitor’s entrance) and Gate 2.
This is by far one of the easiest and budget-friendly ways to visit. There are typically 2 types of buses that can take you there :
A) City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus (Mini Peninsula Tour) – This bus stops at the botanical garden 15 times a day during the South African Summer months(mid-September to April), and 12 times a day during the Winter months (May to mid-September), 7 days a week.
B) Golden Arrow Bus – This bus leaves Mowbray Station and arrives at Kirstenbosch Gardens 6 times a day. It typically drops you off at either Gates 1 or 2. Additionally, it leaves Golden Acre Terminus (near Cape Town Station) for Kirstenbosch, once a day. This bus operates on weekdays only!
How much does it cost?
- Standard Adult: R210
- Students/learners of 18 years and older from a South African institute (with student card): R50
- All children from 6 to 17 years: R30
- All children under 6 years: Free
- All BotSoc members (with membership card): Free
- South African residents over the age of 60 (with ID): Free on Tuesdays except on public holidays
- South African Residents & SADC Nationals 18 years and older (with ID): R90
- African National Residents 18 years and older (with ID): R130
What are the hours of operation?
The garden is open every day from 8 am to 7 pm during summer (Sep-Mar), and 8 am to 6 pm during winter (Apr-Aug).
The Garden Grounds
There is so much to be said of the flora and fauna of Cape Town. The place itself, outside of the garden, is one that many would likely want to marvel at. However, the Kirstenbosch gardens are certainly an eden that many would want to experience even once in their lives.
Established in 1913, the garden pays homage to the distinctive plants of South Africa, through horticulture. From the hiking trails to miniature gorges, to wild birds, Kristenbosh is a marvel in itself.
Found in the gardens
Various flowers in the garden
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
Known as one of the seven most incredible gardens in the world, it has some of the most beautiful views of Table Mountain. That is because it sits at the eastern foot of the mountain. As wonderful an experience it would be to walk across Table Mountain itself, you can certainly get your fill on views right from the gardens.
Some Key Features of Kirstenbosch Gardens
Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway, AKA. Boomslang
I absolutely adore a cute tree-lined walkway. Whether it’s on the ground or in the air, you instantly get that feeling as though you’ve been transported into a botanical maze. It’s even better when you can see the end of that path. Haha
The Boomslang was no exception to garnering that feeling. Its name, meaning “tree snake,” sets the imagination for its purpose. It is an elevated bridge that literally twists and turns around the park, like a snake. Except, you can actually bounce on this “snake.” Haha What do I mean by this? Well, coupled with spectacular views of the gardens, and a backsplash of Table Mountain, there is a portion of the bridge that bounces. I mean, who wouldn’t like a little pep in their step, or bounce rather?
Now I should say that I had not had the opportunity to go to this site, but from what I had seen it is a lovely botanical conservatory that houses plants from arid biomes. Categorized by region, including the savanna and karoo, you will find a wide variety of plants like aloe, leopard orchids, and the famous baobab tree of Africa. It is most certainly worth seeing if you have extra time in the gardens.
Day Trips within the Kirstenbosch Gardens
There are a ton of things to see and do in Kirstenbosch Gardens. Although it can quickly be explored in a few hours, passing by the two sites I had mentioned and a few others in the main vicinity would suffice. However, I think the true beauty of the garden is best seen by spending the day hiking or biking one of its trails or even crossing one of its rivers and ponds. Spending an entire day there is probably a great way to be one with nature, and take in the full garden experience.
Relax & Explore
Take your time. I can’t stress enough how important this is for your entire experience. The garden, as you can imagine, is expansive. Trying to rush to see different things will leave you feeling exhausted. So just be mindful of this as you want to make the most out of your time there.
Nonetheless, you are bound to have a fantastic time.