Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Today I enjoyed the glorious sunshine and went on a beautiful hike to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The hike began in Cape Town’s Deer Park in Vredehoek, continued up the Table Mountain cable car road, following the contour path to Rhodes Memorial, and finally descended via the yellowwood trail into Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden – which I have written about in several blogs.
Deer Park is a nature reserve at the foot of Table Mountain. The park is easy to reach and has hiking trails of varying difficulty, including wild, overgrown paths that head straight up Table Mountain and rougher more challenging trails. Walkers, runners, mountain bikers, and dog walkers all frequent Deer Park.
The scenery is a “cross-section” of the best Cape Town has to offer, with plenty of indigenous plants, proteas, and succulents to examine up close. From the foot of Table Mountain hikers enjoy wide mountain views and “stunning vistas of the city spread out like a toy town with the ocean glimmering on the horizon”. The well-maintained paths are peaceful and the patches of spring wildflowers beginning to pop up all over the mountain are breathtaking. Deer Park is also a perfect picnic spot with enough shade and sunlight to keep picnickers happy.
The Cecil John Rhodes Memorial is built on his favorite spot on the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak. Rhode’s old wooden bench sits below the impressive memorial. “Perhaps the magnificent view facing northeast was the start of the Cape to Cairo Road, Rhodes’s imperial dream of a British colonial Africa. Rhodes owned vast areas of the lower slopes of Table Mountain, which he gave to the nation on his death.”
Part of Rhode’s estate is now Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and the upper campus of the University of Cape Town.
Table Mountain Contour Path and Yellowwood Trail
The hike via the contour path and yellowwood trail is not difficult and takes about four hours. After a relaxing lunch I caught a bus back to Cape Town with a whole Saturday afternoon of sunshine (or World Cup Rugby games :o) left to enjoy!