Nestled at the eastern foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town is the magnificent Kirstenbosch botanical gardens. This place will capture your heart with fascinating sights of native plant life that dominate South African countries.
It started out as a farm over 100 years and it has grown into a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also a cornerstone for conservation and features a collection of 1054 species of shrubs, fynbos, forest and a colourful flower garden that radiates with enchanting fragrances.
The kind of place birds and people meet to immerse themselves in the beautiful aroma and everything that comes with it. It is tranquil and well maintained.
There are many botanists constantly working on improving it into the world’s most breathtaking conservation kingdom. But maintaining beauty comes with a cost. A cost that tourists are thankfully willing to meet.
Touring these gardens costs only 70 Rands (roughly $5 or UGX20,000) for adults. Children are charged about 10,000UGX. Before you embark on the tour you may feel like that is slightly a lot for just going to stand near a tree or plant. But it is actually one of the most rewarding tours you will ever experience.
The scenery is as dramatic and fun as they come thanks to the good network of well-maintained trails that snake through the park. Kirstenbosch is spread over a 528 hectares estate.
Its fertile soils rest upon an ancient bedrock formed around 560 to 540 million years ago. That right there is history to behold, and there are knowledgeable guides to make sure your tour is refreshing and educative at the same time.
The kind of place you want to take a girl for a simple date. Don’t forget your picnic basket if you are after a romantic day out. She will find you naturally irresistible. Kirstenbosch is a perfect spot for nature lovers wanting to enjoy a day out in a beautiful setting. Alternatively, you can have lunch at the restaurant within the main building. You need at least a full day to be able to take in all its glorious beauty.
It has 29 main exhibition arenas, each designed into a very inviting showground.
My favourite five were:
Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway
This attraction is shaped like a boomslang and raised over trees of the Arboretum, with panoramic views of the entire garden. It offers excellent views of Cape Town’s skyline and mansions of the “who is who” of South Africa.
This one displays some of the dominant species in the remarkably diverse protea family like serrurias, conebushes and pagodas.
It exhibits how you can establish a lush, colourful garden that is easy to maintain and doesn’t consume much water.
It displays stone sculptures in the shona tradition. You are free to purchase any you like.
This one showcases some of the over 2,500 plant species of the Cape Peninsula.
All in all, Kirstenbosch is beauty to behold.