Monday, 11 January 2021 12:16 PM
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of the prettiest in the world, with lawn and indigenous South African plants on the slopes of Table Mountain National Park. These rolling gardens are abuzz all year round, offering something special for every season. Perfect for a picnic, the start of a beautiful hike, a picturesque setting for a movie date, and the city’s only aerial forest boardwalk, these gardens really are magical.
History made cool
Kirstenbosch was given to Cecil John Rhodes and was nothing but ramshackled farmland, overpopulated with pigs. Then in 1913, a plant whisperer, aka a botanist by the name of Harold Pearson transformed it into a beautiful garden filled with South Africa’s indigenous flora. Today, Kirstenbosch is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains over 7 000 species of plant from southern Africa.
What you can expect
Kirstenbosch is not only an exhibition of South Africa’s pretty plants, but is also a celebration. The garden contains a fragrance garden, medicinal garden, protea garden and braille trail. The garden is also home to a cycad theatre, a species of plant that is 340 million years old, has outlived the dinosaurs, and has survived mass extinction in three global catastrophes. In short, these are the toughest living creatures around. The garden is also a throwback to the Jurassic age, where dinosaur sculptures can be spotted and identified.
For the artistic, there are also bronze animal sculptures designed and created by celebrated South African artist, Dylan Lewis.
Beware the Boomslang
Given the garden’s lengthy history, the Boomslang is a relatively new addition to Kirstenbosch, but has still become one of its defining features. Opened in 2013, the Treetop Canopy Walkway is 130m of boardwalk that stretches high into the treetops. Tranquil and beautiful in equal measure, the Boomslang offers far-reaching views of the city and beyond.
Like the fynbos which flourishes August to November, Kirstenbosch is host to some great bands endemic to South Africa, with their Summer Sunset Concerts. Take a picnic and listen to SA’s best local musical acts like Majozi, Jeremy Loops and more.
Kirstenbosch is also the occasional venue for The Galileo Open Air Cinema. This cinema screens all the golden oldies as well as more recent films. A movie at Kirstenbosch under the stars is the perfect date night or family evening outing.