Kirstenbosch is one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world. Located in Cape Town, it was established in 1913 to conserve and promote the indigenous flora of South Africa.
But, what is a botanical garden? It is a living museum that contains collections of plants that are used for display, scientific research, and education.
Which types of gardens can you see in Kirstenbosch? you will see collections of southern African plants including many rare and endangered species. There are also theme gardens including Fynbos, Fragrance, Useful Plants, and Water-wise gardens and the Forest Braille Trail.
Which other facilities can you find? The Kirstenbosch Visitor’s Centre houses the Kirstenbosch Shop, the Botanical Society Bookshop, an Information Desk, a coffee shop, and a Conference and Exhibition Centre. There is also a fine restaurant and a tea room.
Kirstenbosch Garden is opened every day of the year at the following hours:
- April to August: 8:00 to 18:00 hrs.
- September to March: 8:00 to 19:00 hrs.
*The Conservatory is open from 9:00 to 17:00 hrs. daily.
- Adults: $70 ZAR = $ 4.9 USD
- SA Students (with card): $40 ZAR = $2.8 USD
- Scholars/learners (6 – 17 years): $20 ZAR = $ 1.4 USD
More information on Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden ticket prices here.
1. Guided tours, walks and trails
The garden is so big and there are so many places you should see! I recommend you to arrive at the Information Desk and either grab a map, take a free guided tour, shuttle car tour or audio guide. These are all the options:
a. Map (5 ZAR = 0.43 USD)
You can guide yourself on the journey, the map has the location and description of 29 points in the garden. On the information center, they can mark you a route depending on the time you want to spend at the Garden.
b. Free guided tours (90 min.)
- Tours leave from the Visitors’ Centre (Gate 1) at 10h00, 11h00 and 14h00 Monday to Friday and at 10h00 on Saturdays.
- Tours leave from the Garden Centre (Gate 2) at 10h45 Monday to Saturday.
*There are no tours on Sundays.
*Go to Events to find out about additional free guided walks on offer. For example, bird walks, themed walks, and special walks during school holidays.
c. Shuttle car tours (80 ZAR = 5.6 USD per person)
Leave from the Visitors’ Centre (Gate 1), on the hour, daily, from 9:00 to 15:00 hrs. on fair-weather days.
- Picnics are allowed in Kirstenbosch, but braais/barbecues are not allowed.
- Kirstenbosch is a No Bins Garden, visitors are expected to take their trash with them.
- Dogs are allowed in dog-walking paths but not allowed in the developed Garden or the natural area immediately surrounding the Garden as far as the upper contour path.
- You can’t ride a bicycle, skateboard or roller skate
- You can’t play a radio or musical instrument or make noise
2. My tour
I went to Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden on a Saturday and took the 10:00 hrs. free tour. Jane, our tour guide, was a lovely woman who explained to us the history of the garden as well as the variety of plant species located in each area.
The garden is so big! We started at Gate one and followed this path:
a. The Camphor Avenue
This historical avenue provides a cool, shady walk. It’s so nice to see the tall trees (I felt like in Jurassic Park).
A variety of colors with beautiful Namaqualand Daisies.
Located in front of the Main Pond, this area is also full of colors.
d. Mathews Rockery
Displays succulents and bulbs from the dry parts of Southern Africa.
e. Tree Canopy Walkaway
This is the highlight of the garden, it is a very cool snake shape bridge raised over the trees of the Arboretum, with panoramic views.
f. Cycad Amphitheatre
Has an ancient plant group that has survived since the time before the dinosaurs roamed the earth.
g. Erica Garden
Contains a selection of over 600 species of Erica.
h. Useful Plants
Has indigenous plants used to making tea, dyes, rope, baskets and other medicinal uses.
i. Braille Trail
A short, self-guided, sensory trail through the forest.
These are just 9 areas from 29! When the tour finished we stayed to explore more!
3. Summer Sunset Concerts
During the summer months (late November until early April) the popular Summer Sunset Concerts occur in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on Sunday evenings. There is always a very nice and relaxed atmosphere and many people take blankets and picnic baskets to enjoy the concerts.
Kirstenbosch has featured many of the best local artists and bands like Freshlyground, Johnny Clegg, Plush, Goldfish and many others. And the venue has also hosted some international singers such as Michael Buble, Cliff Richard, and Josh Grobin.
The Summer Sunset Concerts have become so popular that the tickets are now limited.
More info on the official Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts Facebook Page.
Kirstenbosch offers three different restaurants, each in a different location and with a distinctive menu.
a. Moyo Kirstenbosch
The Moyo Kirstenbosch is located near to the Visitor’s Center. You can enjoy Afro- entertainment and cuisine in a friendly, warm and relaxed African atmosphere.
They only serve dinner on Friday evenings and you are advised to reserve.
- Monday to Thursday: 11:00 – 18:00
- Friday: 11:00- 23:00
- Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 – 18:00
For more information, including menus visit Moyo Kirstenbosch website.
b. The Kirstenbosch Tea Room
You can find The Kirstenbosch Tea Room at the Centre for Home Gardening. They serve breakfast, lunch, sandwiches, salads, soups, tea, cakes and desserts. The Tea Room has a relaxed atmosphere and also caters for parties and groups.
- Every day from 8:30 till 17:00
For more information, including menus visit Kirstenbosch Tea Room’s website.
c. Vida e caffè at Kirstenbosch
High-quality coffee and the best espresso, croissants, muffins, pastries, panini, wraps and treats are served at the Vida e caffè at Kirstenbosch. It is situated in front of the Visitor’s Centre so it can be visited without paying the entry fee for the garden.
- Every day from 7:09 till 19:00
For more information, including menus visit Vida e caffè at Kirstenbosch’s website.
5. Location and contact
The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is located in Cape Town’s district Newlands at the Rhodes drive. It is only about 25 minutes away from the City Center.
How to get there
a. By Car
From the city center take De Waal Drive (M3) in the direction of Muizenberg. At Rhodes Drive turn right and follow the signs to Kirstenbosch. The car ride will take around 25 minutes. Free parking is available at Gates 1,2 and 3.
b. By UBER/Taxify
It will take you around 25 minutes from Cape Town’s City Centre. Uber cost around 115 ZAR = 9.8 USD.
c. City Sightseeing
Kirstenbosch is one of the stops of the City Sightseeing Mini Peninsula route.
The bus stop for the City Sightseeing is at the Visitors’ Centre (Gate 1).
Taking the red bus costs $200 ZAR = $14 USD and you can also see other 14 hot spots in Cape Town. Go to City Sightseeing website for more information.
d. Golden Arrow
This Bus Service to Kirstenbosch departs from ‘Mowbray’ station continuously and there is one bus per day from the ‘Golden AcreTerminus’ (near Cape Town Station).
The bus stop in Kirstenbosch is situated at the Bell Tower Gate, where the entrance road splits and goes left to the Visitor’s Centre (Gate 1) or straight to the Centre for Home Gardening (Gate 2).
Go to gabs.co.za for more information.
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