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Spread out across the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is a remarkable sight. Here, more than 7,000 indigenous plant varieties can be found across 36 hectares of land, some of which have been native to South Africa for millennia.
Located just 13 kilometres from the city centre, the gardens are easily accessible to anyone staying in Cape Town. Simply jump on one of the regular buses that shuttle back and forth or drive the short distance from the city and take advantage of the free car park.
It is worth arriving early to catch one of the free walking tours at 10 am each morning. Lasting an hour and a half, the guide will introduce you to the most spectacular flowers and views of the season. For an easier pace, pay a small fee and let yourself be driven around on one of the golf buggy tours which set out every hour.
As lunchtime approaches, three different eateries offer a range of hot and cold snacks to keep you refreshed. You can even order a picnic from the Tea Room to enjoy in your favourite spot.
There is a wide choice of paved paths and challenging hiking trails to explore. A stroll along the Fynbos Walk takes you past an array of plants exclusive to South Africa, while the Cycad Amphitheatre contains a collection of ancient and rare South African Cycads that have barely changed since dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
You can top up your bottle for free from the freshwater spring before setting out on the more difficult paths in the protected land that extends around the gardens. The Skeleton Gorge Trail is a favourite, leading right out onto Table Mountain.
If you cherish art, the permanent collection of Mambo sculptures is not to be missed. Carved from great blocks of grey stone, they stand out dramatically against the plants and trees around them.
Over the summer, outdoor concerts run every Sunday evening from 5:30 pm with performers as prestigious and varied as Hugh Masekela and the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.
Want to make your time spent at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens even more memorable? Remember to try some of these things to do:
If you're seeking even more options, have a look at our Cape Town things to do page.
Located in Wynberg NU (2), this guesthouse is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, and within 9 mi (15 km) of University of Cape Town and Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. Two Oceans Aquarium and Lions Head are also within 12 mi (20 km).
Located in Wynberg NU (2), this luxury hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Newlands Stadium and University of Cape Town. Table Mountain National Park and Cavendish Square are also within 2 miles (3 km).
Located in Wynberg NU (2), this guesthouse is 0.8 mi (1.3 km) from Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and 2.7 mi (4.3 km) from Newlands Stadium. Castle of Good Hope and Greenmarket Square are also within 9 mi (15 km).
This family-friendly Cape Town hotel is located in Claremont, within 1 mi (2 km) of Cavendish Square and Newlands Stadium. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and University of Cape Town are also within 3 miles (5 km). Newlands Station is 13 minutes by foot and Claremont Station is 15 minutes.
Located in Constantia, this luxury hotel is 1.6 mi (2.6 km) from Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and 2.7 mi (4.3 km) from Constantia Glen Winery. Groot Constantia Winery and Newlands Stadium are also within 6 mi (10 km).
Situated in Cape Town, this luxury villa is within 3 miles (5 km) of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Newlands Stadium and University of Cape Town. Arderne Gardens and Cavendish Square are also within 2 miles (3 km).
Located in Constantia, this guesthouse is 2 mi (3.2 km) from Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and 3 mi (4.9 km) from Eagles Nest. Newlands Stadium and University of Cape Town are also within 6 miles (10 km).
Located in Wynberg NU (2), this bed & breakfast is within 3 miles (5 km) of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Newlands Stadium and University of Cape Town. Cavendish Square and Arderne Gardens are also within 2 miles (3 km).