Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Cape Town South Africa

Anyone visiting Cape Town, South Africa, should consider a day trip to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Located just a few kilometers south of the old city center of Cape Town, the Kirstenbosch Gardens are acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens in the world. The grandeur of the setting alone, on the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain, makes these gardens unmatched for visual drama.

Kirstenbosch Gardens were established in 1913 to conserve and display the richly diverse flora of region, and was the first botanic garden exclusively devoted for this purpose. With over 7,000 species under cultivation and over 22,000 indigenous species naturally preserved, the gardens display an immense variety of the flora of the area, as well as rare and threatened examples from all the diverse regions throughout southern Africa.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Cape Town, South AfricaThe beautiful botanical gardens cover 36 hectares out of the 528 hectares of the grounds. Most of the estate is mountainside nature preserve supporting natural forest and fynbos, along with a variety of native animals and birds. Kirstenbosch lies in the middle of the Cape Floral Kingdom, also known as the Cape Floristic Region, which in 2004 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The gardens are a celebration for the eyes, showcasing the diverse variety of South African plants. Fynbos and Proteas, Cycads and many more are intermingled across rolling lawns, with streams and ponds and meandering yet well-planned paved pathways for easy walking. There are plaques and signs placed along the way to provide information about the various trees and plants on display.

There are two restaurants on the grounds: The Botanical Café and the Silver Tree Restaurant, and picnic luncheons can be arranged. There is a free daily walking tour everyday at 10:00 a.m., and golf cart tours every hour for R45. On Sundays from November through April, sunset musical concerts are held on the grounds. Prices vary. The entrance fees are R35 for adults, R20 for students and R10 for children.

The Gardens are 13 kilometers from Cape Town city center, and are open to the public 365 days a year from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. September through March, and from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. April through August.

If you are visiting Cape Town, be sure to set aside at least part of a day to enjoy the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, but once there you will undoubtedly want to make a whole day of it.


Scenic Day Trip, Table Mountain Cape Town

Visitors to Cape Town may enjoy taking a scenic day trip to Table Mountain. Just fifteen minutes from downtown Cape Town, this is one attraction that can’t be missed! The mountain is easy to access with transportation options like rikki taxis, metered taxis, sightseeing buses, city buses, or your own vehicle.

Once you reach the lower station, climb aboard the cable car to begin the five minute ascent to the top of the mountain. The cable cars rotate 360 degrees offering panoramic views of the city for the entire journey to the top. For the more adventurous tourists, there are also hiking trails to the top. It is about a 3k trek, and is considered challenging. It’s not recommended for young children or elderly. Table Mountain administration also reminds you that high winds can shut down the cable cars, so plan ahead and dress accordingly in case you have to walk back down!

Cape Town from Table Mountain, South AfricaOnce you are at the summit of the mountain, take in the breathtaking views of downtown Cape Town, the ocean, and surrounding mountains. There are plenty of scenic viewing points on top of Table Mountain that offer spectacular views of sights like Cape Town Stadium, the Cape Flats, and Devil’s Peak. Since the top of the mountain is flat, navigating it is not challenging and makes enjoying the views even better.

There are other sightseeing opportunities as well, and there are even wheelchair accessible routes. The flora and fauna in Table Mountain National Park is abundant and exciting to discover. Visitors may see mongooses, snakes, butterflies, lizards, porcupines, and over a thousand different varieties of plant life.

For those looking for an extreme thrill, try Abseil Africa! This is a one-of-a-kind experience and can be the most exciting thing you ever do. Step off the mountain at 1000 meters above sea level and rappel down with nothing but the air around you. The abseil from Table Mountain is the highest commercial abseil in the entire world!

Tourists can enjoy a meal, snack, or drink at the cafe on top of the mountain. There is also a souvenir shop to purchase trinkets. There is something for every one of all ages and all stages at Table Mountain!


Cape Peninsula National Park, Cape Town

Cape Peninsula National Park and Cape Point Cape Town South Africa

Essentially situated within the city limits of Cape Town, South Africa, Table Mountain National Park is one of the main highlights of any visit to this city. Most people allow at least an hour or two for a visit, but plan to spend all day if you intend to visit Cape Point. In fact, there are so many fascinating sights within the national park that time will fly and you’ll probably be anxious for a return visit.

Misty Beach, Cape Point Peninsula National Park, Cape Town South AfricaThe national park stretches from Table Mountain in the north all the way to Cape Point in the south. Cape Point, as the southwestern most tip of Africa, is a natural wonder where two oceans meet. Visitors can either hike to the point or board the Flying Dutchman funicular for spectacular views and a more leisurely trip. Visitors will find that the Point is well equipped to meet their needs with interpretive signs and plenty of facilities. The Two Oceans Restaurant offers delicious food along with unforgettable ocean views and the Tigers Eye Curio Shop stocks souvenirs suitable for taking home as a memento.

The Cape also features two lighthouses, one of which is still operational and assists vessels as they voyage around the Cape of Good Hope. The cape enjoys a Mediterranean climate similar to the Cape Town weather, giving it summers that are typically hot and dry and winters that are generally brief and wet. Consequently, it is a good idea for visitors to arrive prepared for the weather. Everyone is encouraged to bring proper sun protection like a hat and sunblock along with plenty of water. A suitable windbreaker and rain gear are suggested in adverse conditions. Because of the many hiking opportunities throughout the national park, visitors should also carry a snack and a well-detailed map to ensure a pleasurable excursion.

Within the boundaries of the park visitors are likely to encounter numerous native animals such as baboons and zebras. These encounters offer excellent opportunities for photography, though visitors are cautioned to avoid approaching the animals for safety reasons. The flora is diverse and in some cases unique to the cape, providing exciting opportunities for amateur botanists.

A visit to Cape Point is an ideal day trip from Cape Town. The park is so close to the city that a return visit is easy to accomplish. Allow at least a full day to experience most of what this unique park has to offer to visitors.

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