Kirstenbosch - the biggest open-air botanical garden of all. I fell in love with this garden when I first came here back in 2004. So, when I arrived to Cape Town this year, I immediately wanted to go back. Although a few obstacles (in the shape of a vineyard visit and so on) almost prevented me from doing that, there I was, still back at Kirstenbosch!
Although back in Cape Town it was sunny and hot, it was quite chilly here, due to the higher altitude and proximity to the mountain peaks. But the dark grey clouds looked stunning hanging from above!
The first thing I saw was a set of cute little children playing some games, forming amazing circles, which were definitely worth photographing. Then, I wanted to find proteas. The garden is very big, so you have to focus on something.:) Unfortunately, proteas weren’t in season (winter time…), but many other things were. For example, my other top favorite flower and the national flower of South Africa, the bird of paradise.
I saw a lot of different birds, too. Especially Egyptian geese. I am not sure if they were making a stopover here on their way to somewhere, but they seemed to be pretty at ease and enjoying themselves.
Kirstenbosch was established in 1913, and it was the first botanical garden in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora. It has a wide variety of the unique plant life of Cape Flora, as well as plants from all the diverse regions of southern Africa.
There are over 7,000 species in cultivation at Kirstenbosch, including many rare and endangered species.
The garden covers 36 hectares in a 528-hectare estate that contains protected mountainside supporting a natural forest and fynbos (South Africa’s famous plant, you might know it from red fynbos tea). Kirstenbosch lies in the heart of the Cape Floristic Region, also known as the Cape Floral Kingdom. In 2004, the Cape Floristic Region, including Kirstenbosch, was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – another first for Kirstenbosch. It is the first botanical garden in the world to be included as a natural World Heritage Site.
If you feel hungry, there is a restaurant here and a cafe with amazing food and a nice selection of wines.