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.
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 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.
I can’t resist fat bumble bee photos.
We woke this snail from his peaceful slumber in the scent garden.
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.
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.
Photo Credit: Martin_Heigan
The symmetry and design of the flower is breathtaking. Every little petal is folded like origami.
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.