Thursday, 26 May 2016

Visiting Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town

Prior to arriving in Cape Town, my friend and I spent hours and hours researching and planning all the things we wanted to do and see in the city. Cape Town has been one of the top places I have wanted to visit in the last few years, but up until the point of actually looking into all the different sights and areas that there are in the city, I never realised just how much there is to do here (which is a pretty good job really, as we’re here for 6 weeks!).

Of all the things we listed, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens was one of the top sights I wanted to see, which is funny really, as if 5 years ago, you’d have asked me if I’d like to visit a botanical garden, I’d have perhaps asked if you’d like to go swimming alongside a couple of great white sharks without a cage…

…nature wasn’t really my thing as you can probably tell…

But now! Oh now, I’m an actual real life grown up (kind of) who appreciates a great scenic view and the peace of the countryside and everything. I even sometimes feel like going for a walk, without a purpose or anything, I’m so good at adulating.

Anyway. Kirstenbosch.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens has been named as one of the greatest botanical gardens of the world. Located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, it has the reputation of being the most beautiful garden in the whole of Africa, and whilst this is a pretty significant claim, it certainly lives up to every expectation once you enter the site.

The beauty of Kirstenbosch can’t really be fully shown through photos, they really do little justice to the scenery. With over 7000 species of unique plant life, the estate protects natural forestry and a variety of animals and birds. With a mission to ‘promote the sustainable use, conservation, appreciation and enjoyment of the rich plant and animal life in South Africa’, it really is worth a visit, whatever time of the year.

You are free to stay at the gardens for as long as you like, some take a picnic, others prefer to relax with a book, and you can even walk along the Tree Canopy Walkway, which gives you the most incredible views of the city of Cape Town, as well as across the botanical gardens.

We caught the Cape Town Red Bus ‘blue tour’ (actual red bus, different coloured tours, all very complicated..), which, for R190, the equivalent of £8.3, allows you to hop on and off, wherever you fancy along the route including Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, World of Birds, Imizamo Yethu Township and Hout Bay. The price of entry into the gardens is not included in this however, with an additional charge of R55 (£2.41) to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site. A small price to pay though, for time spent in this incredible area of Cape Town…

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