Our final day in Cape Town was spent at the “Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden”:http://www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch. Although we could have caught the open-top bus, time was not on our side but a taxi from our hotel took only 20 minutes and cost SAR200 (£10). After paying an entrance fee SAR55 each and 5 for a map, we set off on having checked where the tree top canopy was, which for some reason wasn’t shown on the map.
It was a lovely day and not too windy with the sun dipping in and out. There were lots of wonderful bushes, plants and trees all in their natural habit and no sign of what I call ‘corporation gardens’. Plants were all well labelled as were the numerous wide, but occasionally steep paths. However, if you wanted to wander if the paths, that was fine and there were plenty of memorial seats for resting or admiring the views. The major plants were brigaded into specific areas to good effect e.g. Protea Garden, Fynbos Walk and Pelargonium Garden (where the difference between a pelargonium and geranium was explained). To stimulate our senses there was a Fragrance Garden and Braille Trail. In total there were 28 listed areas to see and we managed to tick off the majority of them.
However, we did have a quick lunch break at the “Kirstenbosch Tea Room “:http://www.ktr.co.za/? at Gate 2 room where we had a reviving glass of wine and shared a rare roast beef sandwich. The menu was varied and people were having everything from a scone and hot chocolate to a full blown meal.
There are a couple of excellent, well-stocked shops selling a good range of garden-themed souvenirs, books, clothing etc. We bought protea seeds but the sales lady was sceptical about whether we’d grow them in our climate. Although slightly frosty at first, she thawed during our chat and ended up producing a photograph a chap from the midlands had sent her of a protea he’d grown from seeds he’d bought from her. I wonder if we will have the same success? We also purchased a book on agapanthus (the South African Lily) which we have in our garden so we could try to identify the variety.
As well as the Tea Room, there is also a restaurant (open to non-visitors) and you can have picnics made up when the weather is more settled. Concerts are held in summer and free guided tours are available as are golf buggies for those who can’t walk so well. All in all, there is lots to see and lots going on – it’s a must visit if you’re in Cape Town.