Nestled against the side of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is a tranquil green oasis in Cape Town. In a city that can feel in your face at times, Kirstenbosch Garden in Cape Town is a welcome respite that feels like a world in itself.
What To Do at Kirstenbosch Garden
Kirstenbosch is very popular with tourists and locals alike. It’s an easy place to spend a relaxing summer afternoon. Our family really enjoyed spending some time in nature after a couple of days of city sightseeing.
There are well-marked trails leading through Kirstenbosch. Even though it was a busy weekend, there were times we felt there was no one around. We had this green forest idyll to ourselves.
If you are feeling active, you can take a trail from Kirstenbosch up to the top of Table Mountain. The route is well-signposted and takes a few hours. With more active children than mine, I would think it was pretty enjoyable. There are ladders to climb and rocks to scramble. When my kids heard that it was a five hour hike, however, they opted for a picnic on the grounds of the garden itself.
The tree canopy walkway was very busy. Known as the Boomslang after the South African snake, the steel and wood walkway winds it way above the treetops. It was opened in 2014 to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Kirstenbosch Gardens. My children loved messing around on it because it swayed with movement.
The Kirstenbosch Garden
The garden itself has lawned areas and lots of native vegetation. In fact, it was one of the first botanical gardens in the world with a mission to preserve the native plant life. So, of course, there is lots of the native Fynbos, including the low-lying shrub stuff as well as protea plants.
In the summer months, there are regular concerts in the park which are very popular. Right before Christmas, there is even a series of Christmas carol concerts. Although we were at Kirstenbosch during an evening there was a concert, we decided we were too tired to attend (and it was a South African band we did not recognise).
Visiting Kirstenbosch Garden in Cape Town
Kirstenbosch lies about 8 miles from the centre of Cape Town. Parts of the garden wheelchair accessible. The gardens are open 7 days a week. There are cafes and tea rooms in the Garden which will allow you to take food away for a picnic on the grounds. There is also a fantastic (and extensive) gift shop.
Kirstenbosch is one of the many cool things to do in South Africa which is a great family destination. My kids loved all the animal-related activities like going on a mini-safari, swimming with penguins on Boulders Beach and hiking the Cape of Good Hope where they saw wild baboons. My husband’s favourite part was the eating and drinking his way through Stellenbosch and I loved our Garden Route road trip.