Wordtravels

Wordtravels

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Five miles (eight km) south of the city centre lie the magnificent Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, covering a huge expanse of the rugged southwestern slopes of the Table Mountain range. Kirstenbosch was bequeathed to the nation by mining magnate Cecil Rhodes in 1895, and today contains more than 22,000 plants, a research unit, botanical library and nursery. Numerous paths meander through the gardens, including a Braille route for the blind, which are full of lush shrubs and 'fynbos', the Cape's indigenous floral heritage. The gardens are a natural wonderland loomed over by the beautiful mountains with endless space for picnics and walks. Several incredible hikes can be started from the gardens, including the formidable Skeleton Gorge, and Nursury Ravine which wind steeply up the mountain and generally take between four and six hours. If these difficult hikes sound a little frightening, there are also much gentler and shorter walking trails winding through the gardens. A tearoom, two restaurants and a coffee bar are on site. In summertime the delightful setting becomes the venue for Sunday evening open-air concerts, when picnickers relax on the lawns, sipping Cape wine, and enjoying the sunset entertainment. There are also outdoor movie screenings in summer.

Address: Rhodes Drive, Newlands

Website: www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch

Telephone: 021 799 8783

Opening times: Daily 8am to 6pm (April to August); 8am to 7pm (September to March); Conservatory 9am to 5pm

Admission: R45 (adults), R10 (children 6-18). Concessions available. Concert fees are applicable on Sunday afternoons during the Summer Sunset Concert series