Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens & Summer Concerts Review
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Introduction
Our trip up Table Mountain began in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. We had the pleasure of ambling round the gardens for an hour or so before climbing the great table Mountain through the Skeleton Gorge route. We were lucky enough to get there quite early on a beautiful sunny day so the colours of the plants were amazing and the day hadn’t grown too hot. Kirstenbosch Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is the third most visited attraction in Cape Town and is certainly one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited and at around R32 for an adult remarkably good value. We saw many couples and families relaxing with picnics which seemed like a great idea, although not sure that would have helped climbing a mountain. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens really is a must visit if you have a morning or afternoon free during your visit to Cape Town.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Located on the Eastern slope of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens was originally established in 1913 to promote and conserve the incredible diversity of flora in South Africa and Cape Town. Whereas most botanical gardens across the globe concentrate on displaying a variety of plant life from across the world Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens was one of the first to concentrate solely on the South Africa’s indigenous flora. Due to the incredible variation of plant life in the Cape, the area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is the first botanical garden in the world to be included in a world heritage site.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens has spent years cultivating and displaying a huge variety plant life from across South Africa as well as much of the flora specific to the Cape such as the local shrubs the fynbos. Plants that cannot survive out of doors, such as those from high mountain peaks or desert areas, are grown in the garden greenhouses or Conservatories. These were very impressive with different rooms clearly maintaining different humidities and temperatures to support the different species. In all Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens cultivates and displays nearly 8,000 of South Africa’s 22,000 different species of plant life including many species that are endangered such as the giant baobab tree.
The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens estate spreads out over 528 hectares of diverse fynbos and natural forest and is adjacent to the Table Mountain Park Estate in Cape Town. The garden area consists of 36 hectares of sprawling lawns and bubbling streams with much of the rest being given over to forest land and fynbos to protect endangered animal and plant species. Needless to say the vista is dominated by table Mountain giving spectacular views of the mountain. We were there in Autumn where apparently the additional rainfall brings out the best blooms.
There are plenty of nature trails around the gardens the most popular being the Fynbos walk which provides an excellent introduction to the indigenous flora. Although we didn’t use one there are guides available as either group walks or an audio guide. A golf buggy is also available for hire which was highly recommended.
How To Get There
Kirstenbosch lies about 13km from Cape Town Centre, there are several buses that go there from the centre of town, a taxi will cost around R90 or by car take the M3 to Muizenberg, take a right onto the M63 where Kirstenbosch should be sign posted.
Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts
Throughout the summer the Kirstenbosch Summer concerts are performed on the grounds of the botanical gardens between November and early April. There is a wide varity of acts that range from local to international bands to orchestras and solo artists.
The concerts prove to be very popular due to the breathtaking setting of the Botanical Gardens and Table Mountain looming in the background. The quality of the acts is generally good and the concerts often sell out weeks in advance. Most people take along a picnic and maybe a bottle of wine, but make sure you get there early to get a good spot.