My First Time Visiting Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town
Last week was a very special and exciting week for me, as my father came down to Cape Town to visit me – all the way from Germany. On that occasion I wanted to show him as much of Cape Town as I could! On his first day here in Cape Town, we started out with renting a car in town and driving to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens– which was an adventure in itself, because the car rental company wouldn’t allow me to drive due to my age, and my father had never before driven on the left, or “wrong” side of the street, plus he had just arrived and had no time at all to get used to it. And although my dad confused the indicator with the windshield wiper most of the time (who uses the indicator here anyway?) we made it safely to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, where we started our day.
After buying our tickets for Kirstenbosch Gardens (R50 per person, if you're interested) and a brochure about the botanical gardens, which is also available in German next to English, Afrikaans and French, we finally entered the botanical garden and wanted to directly make our way to the new and probably most popular attraction of the gardens, which is the treetop canopy or “Boomslang” walk, as you might have guessed. However, after the first few metres I got distracted by some other part of Kirstenbosch Gardens which I thought was far more beautiful than the path we should have taken and so we stopped by a small lake and watched the baby ducks while I used the opportunity to use my new camera.
After another slight detour to the Otter Pond, where you can only see a beautiful statue of an otter instead of real ones, we eventually managed to resist the other distractions and follow the signs leading to the canopy walk - uphill of course and it was a really hot and sunny day with no clouds to be seen and not even light breeze for cooling down a bit.
Anyway, the canopy walk was just awesome! The view is breath-taking and you almost feel on top of the world up there. So even if you don’t have enough time to see the entire Kirstenbosch Gardens, it is worth to go there only for the canopy walk.
After that, we strolled around a bit and eventually came across a beautiful path up the mountain along a little river that also led to Skeleton Gorge, the hiking trail to the top of Table Mountain. But we took the other turn that leads back to the botanical gardens and we had a little break on a bench next to a bridge that leads over a little lake that the river forms there. We even had the chance to see a few of those super cute grey squirrels jumping around in the trees over our heads.
By the time that we had made it back to Kirstenbosch Gardens itself, it was already midday and we found it was definitely time for a light meal and a cool refreshing beer. Attracted by the live music, we walked towards the Moyo Kirstenbosch restaurant and settled down there at a nice big table in the shade, because my father was about to get a light sunburn. After having ordered our beer and water, we decided for some of their special sandwiches, which couldn’t have been more delicious. In addition to the live music, the great atmosphere and the food at Moyo Kirstenbosch, I also got my face painted with a pattern that looked like a butterfly and for which I got many compliments later on.
After having spent about an hour at Moyo Kirstenbosch, we left the restaurant because I still wanted to see the sculpture garden in which they have a permanent exhibition with ever-hanging Mambo stone sculptures perfectly integrated into the setting of the garden. We then ended up walking all the way to the Tea House and the souvenir shop, where we bought post cards for friends and family and then headed back towards the Kirstenbosch Garden's entrance/exit where we had parked our car. Before leaving for good, we had a quick look at the glass house, which is right next to the exit and which is a desert house, that displays many different plants from all over southern Africa - from tiny stone plants to the huge baobab tree, which we call “Affenbrotbaum” (monkeybread tree) in Germany.
The glass house was also interesting but all in all, the canopy walk was of
course the highlight of my day!
As it was only midday at that time, we also had a look at the other souvenir shop and we spent the rest of our day in Kalk Bay - an eclectic little village situated on the coast, en route to Boulder’s Beach, where you can see the African penguins. In Kalk Bay we had a lovely time eating ice cream, looking at the sleeping seals and having a drink in the harbour.
All in all, a great day that I would gladly repeat if I could!
Written by Nina Dammann
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