A visit to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town should be on every visitor’s to-do list. Set against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kistenbosch only grows indigenous South African plants. It is world renowned for its beauty and diverse displays of Cape flora. It is also one of eight botanical gardens in South Africa.
History of Kirstenbosch
Kistenbosch was founded in 1913 having been part of Cecil John Rhodes estate. Since then, it has been open daily to the public as a botanical garden. It covers a large area on the slopes of the mountain. Gaining from the high rainfall in the area, and the streams that rush down the ravines. The cultivated garden covers 36 hectares out of the 528 hectares.
Areas of interest within Kirstenbosch include the Protea Garden – the Protea being South Africa’s national flower. The Medicinal Garden includes species from around South Africa that have medicinal purposes, and gives one tips on how to grow and use them correctly. The Water-Wise Garden demonstrates how one can create a garden that uses less water than conventional gardens. About 2500 plant species found in the Cape Peninsular are also in the Peninsular Garden. Historical sites include Van Riebeeck’s hedge which was planted in 1660 to protect the colonist’s cattle, and The Dell which features Colonel Bird’s bath made out of natural stone and filled by fresh mountain spring water.
Not only as informative botanical garden, but also as source of fun.
As well as being one of the most informative botanical gardens, Kirstenbosch is enjoyed by Capetonians and visitors alike for the large lawns and perfect shaded picnic areas. Children spend hours wading in the natural springs and streams. Whilst the fit can go hiking along the forest paths, and less fit can stroll through the cultivated gardens or, best of all, lie on the lush green lawns and stare up at the blue sky framed by Table Mountain and huge oak trees.
On Sunday afternoons during the summer months Kirstenbosch hosts musical concerts. There is no better way in which to end the weekend than with a picnic, good wine, live music and the view of the sun dipping behind the world’s most beautiful mountain.
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