The headquarters of the National Botanical Institute, Kirstenbosch is one of 8 National Botanical Gardens around South Africa. It is also the flagship of the institute and, as befits such a prestigious installation, these lovely and prosperous gardens are a treat for the horticulturalist and botanically illiterate alike.
After passing through the hands of many owners, this property was eventually bought by the pervasive Cecil John Rhodes as part of his Groote Schuur Estate, and was bequeathed to the city in 1895. In 1913, it was established as the National Botanical Gardens, and it now boasts over 5000 thriving plant species.
The respected restaurant is always popular, and the snazzy visitor’s centre has a coffee shop, book shop and a garden centre. The beautiful grounds of the 528 Hectare Kirstenbosch complex run up the side slopes of Table Mountain, and strolling around the complex is a great way to spend an afternoon.
The sculpture garden is a highlight, and other themed areas include the Fynbos trail and the Fragrance Garden. A Braille trail for the visually impaired has also been laid out. Kirstenbosch is a convenient starting point for some of the popular walking routes that lead up to the top of Table Mountain.