Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa

 

This outstanding garden lies at the back of Cape Town's Table Mountain. It is absolutely enormous and even after spending almost a day here we felt that we could have done with more time for exploring it ( although our feet were less keen to continue).

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There is a well-maintained network of paths leading through the garden.

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In one part there is also an elevated walkway providing good views over the tree canopies below.

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Many of the plants are grouped in themed sections. The photo below shows the entrance to the one dedicated to 'useful plants'.

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The 'fynbos' vegetation (typical of large areas of the Western Cape) and pelargoniums, respectively, are the themes of the two sections in the shots below.

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One of our favourite parts was the garden's collection of cycads.

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The photo below shows the last remaining specimen of Wood's Cycad. It became extinct in the wild over a hundred years ago, probably because its bark was too heavily harvested for medicinal uses.

IMAGE15This being South Africa, and the Western Cape in particular, beautiful proteas can be found all over the garden. (The King Protea is South Africa's national flower.)

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Proteas are the main source of food for Cape Sugarbirds, such as the one pictured below.

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We were fascinated by the very attractive so-called Silver Trees, which you come across frequently as you walk through different parts of the garden. They, too, belong to the protea family, but have a very limited natural habitat.

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This information board provides more details:

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Below are a few more impressions from various parts of the garden.

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There is a small greenhouse area near the entrance, containing plants that need shelter from excessive moisture. The baobab tree shown in the photo is one of these.

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The garden has an excellent website providing a wealth of useful and interesting information:

https://www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch/

In terms of the practicalities of getting to Kirstenbosch, the Cape Town Hop-On/Hop-Off Sightseeing Buses (on their blue route) stop right by the entrance, making the garden easily accessible from the city centre. Our three-day ticket for the buses, incidentally, proved to be excellent value for money.

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