South Africa, and its founding city, Cape Town, have such a splendid array of people from so many corners of the world that sometimes, visitors here get more than a little confused about people’s ethnicity and the tricky problem of what to call people (for example, is ‘coloured’ offensive and what does ‘black’ actually mean?) At Parker Cottage, we have a very interesting mix of faces from all the racial backgrounds of South Africa.
It appears that the rate at which the world spins has accelerated over the years; everything has become fast paced and frenetic and the little things get dismissed. Savouring the taste of fresh fruit or revelling in the joys of waking up at a bed and breakfast in Cape Town has become clamoured with a surplus of fast food, fast cars and fast conversations. Without relieving it, this rapid pace of living can severely stunt your quality of life and it is essential to slow down occasionally.
Table Mountain is synonymous with the Mother City – an icon which is now one of the New7Wonders of Nature; the remarkable, flat-topped formation is the heart and soul of one of the world’s most beautiful metropolises. No visit to Cape Town is complete unless you’ve ascended the steep slopes of the mountain from the comfort of the cableway and walked across the cloud-covered top for yourself, enjoying the fragrant fynbos and wealth of animals that adorn its surface....
Extending up the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, the expansive gardens start as exquisitely manicured lawns, adorned with diverse vegetation and later extend into an untamed wilderness, with fragrant fynbos decorating the steep banks of the mountain. The gardens were established in 1913 with the intent of showcasing Southern Africa’s rich floral kingdom and today, they remain dedicated to indigenous flora.
The garden itself spans 36 hectares, but is part of a larger 528 hectare estate that encompasses the mountainside, bordering the Table Mountain National Park. The area has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making is the first botanic garden in the world to be incorporated into a natural World Heritage Site.
Kirstenbosch is committed to conservation and education and there are a variety of different gardens that each demonstrate differing species of plants and their functions. Make sure that you wander through the spacious grounds, incorporating as many of these displays as possible. There are currently in excess of 7000 species of plants in the area, making it every botanist and nature lover’s dream.
Start your stroll with a visit to the Conservatory to admire a variety of special plants that require unique conditions to survive. Admire vivid aloes, an ancient baobab tree, fern garden and desert display. The Peninsula Garden showcases 2500 plant species that originate from all over the Western Cape, while the water-wise garden teaches one tricks for creating a garden which needs reduced amounts of water to survive.
Breathe in the delightful aromas of the Fragrance Garden, enjoying the pleasant fragrances from the pretty Pelagonium and dainty buchu, amongst other plants. Discover which plants to ingest to cure stomach ache or to apply to cuts and sores, in the informative Medicinal Garden, which draws on the San people’s phenomenal knowledge of South African vegetation.
Tiptoe along the stepping stones leading to the famous Colonel Bird’s Bath in the Dell region of the garden, which features a gorgeous array of shade-loving plants. You should also look out for Van Riebeek’s hedge which was planted in 1660 in order to protect and contain the Cape colonist’s cattle.
Next time you’re staying in a bed and breakfast in Cape Town, ensure that you go for an enjoyable stroll in one of South Africa’s most beautiful gardens.
While the ornamental marble and cast iron fireplaces, stately oak dressers and wardrobes, grandiose light fixtures and delicately furnished rooms may pervade the air with luxury and elegance, Parker Cottage is very much a harmonious blend of simplicity, environmentally friendly accommodation and down to earth hospitality. Tucked away in quiet Carstens Street in the historical residential neighbourhood of Tamboerskloof, this Cape Town bed and breakfast is an exclusive 4-star establishment offering all the grace and opulence of a world class guest house, while still maintaining its reputation as an environmentally friendly and socially aware bed and breakfast....