Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is worth a day on anyone's itinerary. While not a big fan of botanical gardens in general, Kirstenbosch is one of my favorite places on earth. It's impossible to describe in words why this place is so incredible. My advice is, just go there and find out for yourself.
Kirtstenbosch Botanical Gardens founded 1913, is one of 8 botnaical gardens in 5 06 the 6 biomes.
It is unique in that only Southern African Indigenous plants are nutured.
From here , one can climg the Table Mountain, explore the many diverse walks. delve into the the Harry Molteno Library or herbarium
The walk that starts at the Constantia Nek parking lot and ends in Kirstenbosch Gardens fits the bill perfectly, bar the fact that there need to be two cars involved (one for each end of the walk) or one of you gets to jog back to fetch it, and believe me, the walk from Constantia to Kirstenbosch might be flat and easy to do, but the way back leaves Kirstenbosch at quite a slope up the mountain side. And doing the walk the other way, from Kirstenbosch to Constantia Nek, involves an entrance fee (you get into Kirstenbosch for free if you come at it from Constantia Nek).
The walk is part of a contour path that runs all the way along from Devil’s Peak to Constantia Nek. Really it serves as an access route through the numerous tree plantations and pockets of indigenous forest on Table Mountain’s eastern slopes.
The walk starts under a canopy of trees, slightly uphill until you reach the contour path. Actually the entire walk is well shaded and almost always beneath trees. The parking lot is right on the circle opposite Constantia Nek restaurant. Once you’re on the path it will fork after a bit. Almost every time we do this walk, one of us forgets that we were confused on the previous walk and we forget to the take the left fork, which heads up the hill. The uphill path is the bridle path and it offers some incredible views over False Bay.The other really fun walk is at Newlands Forest and takes around an hour and a half. The great thing about this walk is that it’s in the shade for most of the time, so perfect for those hot summer days. The idea is to walk towards the mountain from the forest station at Newlands. Take the right fork and head for the trees.
It’s an easy walk, even the inclines are not particularly steep, and any climbing is perfectly doable for little ones. Some people do this in the their lunch breaks in an attempt to invigorate tiring brains, and I can understand why, as it’s a particularly beautiful place to be and, when still enough, has an almost surreal feel to it.
To walk up Signal Hill
It takes about half Hour brisk hike
2 hours if you take it slow and stop along the way. You don't have to be super fit.
In the evenings Signal Hill is a little like ‘lovers lane’ - popular with couples who are up there to enjoy the lights and the romance of the Table Mountain backdrop, particularly during summer when Table Mountain is lit at night. Signal Hill separates the City Bowl from the suburb of Sea Point, and its name is indicative of its function as the site for the noon gun, which is fired every day, a little lower than the viewpoint on Signal Hill, at Lion Battery.
.Reaching the viewpoint is as easy as driving up Kloof Nek Road from the city and then taking a right at the top of the hill. A couple of kramats, or sacred shrines, lie on Signal Hill and, during the day, this is a popular launch site for model aeroplanes and paragliders. From Signal Hill you can also go on and walk up Lion’s Head, a popular mountain walk that is particularly beautiful to do when there is a full moon.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is world-renowned for the beauty and diversity of the Cape flora it displays and for the magnificence of its setting against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.
Kirstenbosch grows only indigenous South African plants. The estate covers 528 hectares and supports a diverse fynbos flora and natural forest. The cultivated garden (36 hectares) displays collections of South African plants, particularly those from the winter rainfall region of the country. It was founded in 1913, read about the History of the Garden.
Proteas are the poster species for fynbos (pronounced faine-boss). They are indigenous evergreen shrubs with large, and beautiful flower heads, highly prized by florists and plant collectors around the world.
The king protea is South Africa's national flower.
The Protea is the national flower of South Africa. You will find different species in the Cape Good Hope nature reserve. These flowers are protected, so do not try to pick them. Seeds of these flowers can be found in local shops and they are not difficult to grow at home ( in a greenhouse).
Do enjoy the beautiful colors
Enjoy one of the concerts which are held every sunday at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
For more information have a look at my Travelogue on Kirstenbosch