Parker Cottage Articles

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A walk through Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens

If you’re staying in a B&B in Cape Town and wondering what attractions to explore, then make sure that the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens feature on your busy schedule. The botanic gardens are world renowned for their beauty and are the perfect place for a picnic in the summer sunshine.

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.
A day up the cableway
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