This island of green in the middle of the city has a long history. It was established in 1650's by the Dutch East India Company with the purpose of providing vegetables and fruit for the colonists. (You can still find here an old pear tree planted in those days). In 1848 the garden was open for public use.
It's a great place to have a walk along its shadowy tree lined avenues, sit on one of many benches, observe funny squirrels and birds, enjoy still another view of the Table Mountain or look at colourful flower beds.
And when you are ready for sightseeing again, you can choose to visit some of the places in or near the Gardens, like South Africa National Gallery and Planetarium, Iziko South African Museum, Jewish Museum and Holocaust Centre or St. George's Cathedral.
These are all that remain of a 43-acre garden laid out by Jan van Riebeeck in April 1652 to supply fresh vegetables to ships on their way to the Dutch East Indies. It remains a delightful haven in the city center, graced by fountains, exotic trees, rose gardens, aviaries, and a pleasant outdoor café. It is one of my favorite lunch-time spots. The venue was recently used to celebrate 10 years of independance.
A lovely "garden restaurant" is located in the middel of the gardens where you can enjoy lovely sandwiches and salads
Even at night time the gardens are quite spectacular, but please be careful and try and avoid it unless you are in quite a big group and you have men with you.
Jan van Riebeeck, founding father of Cape Town, once installed a big garden to cultivate vegetables for his new-founded colony. During the centuries, the garden lost this function and became a botanical garden. Still, many of the colonial buildings are still standing with some of them still showing the signs of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The buildings now have changed their functions from colonial company headquarters to buildings administrative and educative institutions. Among them are some museums, the main public library of Cape Town and the planetarium.
In the park itself, you’ll see an interesting variety of plant species as well as a couple of sculptures and fountains. One of the statues worth to mention is the one of Cecil Rhodes, the british colonist who had a great influence on the Cape Region in the late 19the century. Sometimes, usually during the summer months of the southern hemisphere, open-air concerts and other similar events take place here.
While it is safe to walk around the park during daytime, please keep an eye on your items and be careful. This area is popular with tourists and so it is not uncommon to see pickpockets, burglars or other petty criminals around here.
This park/garden houses many different interesting museums and also has street musicians every now and again. Do this on your own and not with a tour because they will rush you through it and only go down one path. I would arrange to spend a day here in order to see everything.
"The Company" was the Dutch East Indies Company and "The Gardens" are what was originally the plot of land where vegetables were grown.
When the Dutch first landed in Cape Town, it was with a specific purpose: to grow fresh vegetables and provide fresh meat and water to ships en-route between Holland and the East Indies. The one-kilometre strip of land running up the gentle slope behind the original fort was the whole point of the settlement. In those early days, there was no intention by the Dutch to create a colony: Cape Town was to be a 17th Century 7-11 for passing (friendly) ships.
In those days, as now, The Company's Gardens were particularly exposed to the south-easterly winds that are such a pain for much of the summer. It's difficult to explain why because they seem to be protected by Devil's Peak, but nevertheless, the wind whips around this area fiercely. In a short period of time, the farming moved to Rondebosch, which would seem to be even more exposed - except that the winds are less strong there. Go figure!
But for the first few years, the Company Gardens were the focus of all attention, with irrigation canals being laid and even flowerbeds being set up - the first roses bloomed in 1659. For a while, the Garden even contained a small zoo, used to amaze visitors from Europe. As it became more of a place of leisure, so the embellishments appeared along with the flowers. Anton Reith created two lion sculptures for the gateway
Today The Company's Gardens is the heart of Cape Town. If Table Mountain is the icon of Cape Town, then The Company's Gardens is the perfect setting from which to watch the clouds tumble over the edge of the mountain. It has long been the heart of South African government (no matter what those Pretoria people say!), and the country's Houses of Parliament and the state residence of South Africa's President both face out onto the well-tended and much-loved gardens. Unfortunately, fairly brutal 1960s and 1970s architecture intrudes on the graceful scene on one side.
This is the surviving six hectares of Van Riebeck's original vegetable gardens, which were planted in 1652 to provide fresh procude for the VOC's ships when the surrounding country was still off-limits to settlers. Governor Simon van der Stel added an irrigation canal. Over the years the gardens were gradually changed to a superb pleasure garden with a magnificent collection of botanical species from South Africa and the rest of the world.
Company's Gardens is a lovely park in downtown Cape Town enclosed by beautiful colonial buildings. The views on the table mountain are great and there's also a pleasant café within the park. Definitely worth a stroll or a couple of relaxed hours with a book.
This nice city park faces Parliament and forms a pedestrian walk from St. George's Cathedral to the SA Museum.