Today I visited Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Kirstenbosch celebrates South African flora and fauna and consists of indigenous plants only. Set among streams, ponds, and walking pathways the plants are easily accessible and as you might imagine there are tons of exotic birds living in the gardens. Views from the upper slopes are incredible. You can take a short stroll through the gardens, a longer more strenuous hike, or simply find a spot and enjoy a lazy picnic in one of many open sunny areas.
There is a restaurant, a tea-room, gift shops, and a nursery. In the summer (November – April) there are sunset concerts. The garden includes an indoor greenhouse with plants from many regions but the outdoor plants are all native to the Cape with a spectacular protea collection!
A great route through the garden to the summit of Table Mountain is via a hiking trail up a ravine (kloof in Afrikaans) called Skeleton Gorge. This trail is also called Smuts’ Track after Prime Minister Jan Smuts who hiked this route regularly. Above the cultivated parts of the garden there is a path leading south to Constantia Nek. If you follow the path to the north it leads you past the Rhodes Memorial to the slopes of Devil’s Peak and beyond.
This is the first of many visits I will be making to these beautiful