Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Photo Credit: ifijay

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage site about 15 minutes outside of the city of Cape Town. The gardens are a beautiful refuge where tourists can see the Cape Floral Region kingdom, the smallest but richest floral kingdom in the world. The area boasts a variety of fynbos (Africaans for ‘fine bush’) which can be seen nowhere else.

Table Mountain

UNESCO states, “The outstanding diversity, density and endemism of the flora are among the highest worldwide. Unique plant reproductive strategies, adaptive to fire, patterns of seed dispersal by insects, as well as patterns of endemism and adaptive radiation found in the flora, are of outstanding value to science.” The Hottentots Holland mountains provide a dramatic backdrop to the garden.

Guinea Fowl

Guinea fowl run rampant around the parks and neighborhoods. The birds have an awkward gait and blue crested heads  like a turkey. Their black-dotted-with-white feathers are their prettiest characteristic.

Bumble Bee

I can’t resist fat bumble bee photos.


We woke this snail from his peaceful slumber in the scent garden.

Egyptian Goose

The locals consider the Egyptian geese to be a nuisance. Our visit was during chick hatching season, so we were able to see parents watching over their chicklings in gardens and school fields. I was surprised to see both parents playing such a serious part in the raising the chicks. Our apartment overlooked a family of geese living in a school swimming pool, and the parents stood on guard every day and every night.

Red Proteas

These beautiful flowers are called proteas. They are a fynbos. The flowers themselves are the size of a fist. The petals and stems feel like the fur of an animal, very fine and durable. I wish I could have taken seeds or samples from the Kirstenbosch garden shop, but I am sure it is illegal to take through customs.

Pincushion Protea
Photo Credit: Martin_Heigan

Yellow Protea

The symmetry and design of the flower is breathtaking. Every little petal is folded like origami.

Red Protea

You can imagine the beautiful birds these flowers attract.

Photo Credit: riverside mc

To arrive at Kirstenbosch, tourists can take a short taxi ride from the city or use the Hop On-Hop Off bus which stops at several sites around Cape Town. I would suggest taking a picnic lunch and sitting on the lawn.



Filed under Cape Town, South Africa

8 responses to “Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

  1. Wow, those are beautiful! The colors are amazing! I like how the garden is my namesake too (or I am it’s!)

    The name Kirsten is pretty. I did not know your name. 🙂

  2. Gorgeous photos! The colors are positively leaping off my screen.

    One question though – any chance that the Hottentots near the Tatertots? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. 😉

    Ha ha! I think Tater tots will always be my favorite. 😉

  3. Truly stunning scenery. Your geese comment brought to mind the Canada geese over here–they are so numerous (and a protected species) that when it’s “goose season” (fall), many parks and playgrounds have to close because it’s unsafe for kids to be playing among the feces! (Not so pretty, then!). The flowers are like works of art–those colors! Amazing.

    What a shame about the closing. I can imagine that would get pretty unmanageable.

  4. guilherme

    hi there,

    first of all, this is a superb blog, really. i live in rio, brazil, and i plan to spend “le verano de 2010” in buenos aires. but since cape town is my top destination worldwide, i thought about including it in my itinerary.

    did you travel by south african airlines? how much the passages cost you?

    thanks in advance.

  5. Wow! you were in South Africa. How long?

    Great photos as usual. I looked at the other post too with the closeup of the blossom. Beautiful.

  6. No. wait. They are all in the same post. What am I talking about? I blame it on the ear infection!

  7. Loved the photos, and your descriptions. South Africa is on my list (as you know), but the list is long, and the airfares pricey and well, you know, one can’t get everywhere all the time. Your time there has definitely pushed it a few places up on the must-see list though! Looking forward to an update from wherever in the world you are now!

    Thanks. I would move to Cape Town if only for the proteas. I love them.

  8. Pingback: Top Ten Things to Do in Cape Town, South Africa « Still Life in South America

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