Cape Town National Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town are rated amongst the most beautiful gardens in the world as the Mother City’s Botanic Gardens are located in one of the most amazing settings you can imagine.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Cape Town
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Cape Town Botanic Garden is situated on the slopes of the Table Mountain range in the leafy suburb of Newlands overlooking the Mother City and both oceans, it is one of Cape Town’s top tourist attractions and for the Cape Town expats a great place to chill out on a weekend or day off work.

From the higher slopes you will have a wonderful view over most of Cape Town, False Bay and the Cape Flats. In the far distance you will be able to see the stunning Stellenbosch Mountain Range and on good clear days you will up the Atlantic Coast too.

Kirstenbosch and the Cape Floral Kingdom

Kirstenbosch is renowned for its floral beauty. The plants grown in these botanical gardens are all indigenous. You will marvel at the wonders of Nature in this park. It is here where you can admire all kinds of fynbos, like the coastal fynbos or sea lavender here in my picture.

Fynbos Cape Town Kirstenbosch
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The fynbos (fine bush) indigenous plants grow only in the South African Cape Region and therefore constitute one of the six Floral Kingdoms in the world.

Even though the Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest on the globe with less than one percent of the earth’s surface, the Cape region houses the richest floral kingdom in the world with over 9000 plant species.

Proteas in Kirstenbosch Cape Town
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The Botanical Gardens in Cape Town are the oldest in South Africa celebrated the 100 years anniversary in 2013. The gardens were first founded in 1913, but with its early beginnings dating back even further to the late 17th century.

Parts of an almond and bramble hedge which was planted in 1660 by Jan van Riebeeck and his men still can be found here. This hedge marked then the boundary of the first settlement at the Cape.

Why visit Kirstenbosch Gardens?

Here our suggestions for a day out. These are the National Botanical Gardens' most popular attractions:

Protea in bloom
  • Admire the many varieties of proteas and fynbos
  • Touch the oldest hedge of the Cape Colony or some fossiled wood 
  • See a huge baobab tree or numeroussucculents in the Conservatory
  • Smell the herbs in the Fragrance Garden and in the African Medicinal Garden
  • Listen to local and international bands at Sunday Summer Sunset Concerts
Kirstenbosch Sculpture Garden
  • Have a picnic on the lawns or enjoy a cup of tea in one of the restaurants
  • Walk around the Sculpture Garden.
  • Find your way around with the impressive Braille Trail
  • Be amazed by the colorful wildflowers in springtime
  • See the Strelitzia named after Nelson Mandela 

How to get to Cape Town Botanical Gardens?

Directions: From the M3 (De Waal Drive) turn into the R63 (Rhodes Drive, which connects Newlands with Constantia and Bishopscourt).

agapanthus africanus

Entrances: In Rhodes Drive there are three entrances. The main two entrance gates are in Newlands, with the lower Entrance 1 being the main entrance from where you will reach the famous Silvertree Restaurant, a coffee shop and the huge souvenir and book shop too. A bit further up the mountain, coming taking the same exit from Rhodes Drive, you will you will find the education center and the nursery and a smaller book shop at the upper entrance.


This upper Entrance 2 is also close to the Tea Room and the Sanlam Hall with changing art exhibitions.

Then there is another entrance (Entrance 3 Ryecroft Gate) situated in Bishopscourt coming from Constantia. There is sufficient free parking at all entrances.

You can also reach Kirstenbosch Gardens by taxi or with Golden Arrow Buses which depart from Golden Acre Center in Cape Town CBD. The botanical garden also is a stop of the Cape Town Explorer hop-on hop-off buses. 

Practical Info: Kirstenbosch Gardens

Botanical Gardens Information Center: Tel. 021-799-8783

Opening Times: Mon to Sun: 8.00-19.00 in Sept-March and 8.00-18.00 April-August

Entrance Fee: Adults R45, Students R25, Kids R10, SA Seniors (with ID) free entry on Tuesdays except on public holidays

Free Entry for Cardholders of the Botanical Society

ExpatCapeTown Advice: Consider getting an annual membership  (Family Card R555 p.a. African Residents/R845 Overseas Residents) with the Botanical Society, if you plan to visit the Botanical Gardens more often or in every season.

Further info: SANBI Kirstenbosch website 

wildflowers cape town
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All text and pictures © 2008-2016 by Regina Graeff, 
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