Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is a Must-Visit for tourists and locals alike as there is so much to see, admire and discover, that you can easily spend a few hours in the Garden. Its setting certainly sets it apart from other Botanical Gardens in the world: it is nestled against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and offers spectacular views of the beautiful mountain range. There are also quite a few things you can do. Let’s explore some of the main attractions in more detail below:
Flora & Fauna
One of the highlights is obviously the sheer amount of flowers, plants and trees that are home to the Garden. The Kirstenbosch estate covers 528 hectares, of which 36 ha is cultivated and the rest is a protected area supporting natural forest and fynbos, and a wide variety of indigenous birds, animals, reptiles, frogs and invertebrates. You will find an abundance of birds in the Garden with over 125 reported species. But there are also lots of other animals breeding and living around the area. You’ll find butterflies, squirrels, caracals, the Cape porcupine, frogs, Angulate Tortoises, and many many more. Just keep your eyes and ears open and you’ll find a variety of animals on your trails around the Garden.
During the week (Monday to Friday) there are FREE 90 minute guided tours taking place at 14:00. They leave from the Visitors’ Centre (Gate 1) and each guide is presenting a unique tour exploring different areas of the Garden and highlighting some of the special features.
If you’re not taking part in a guided tour, you can also explore the Garden yourself via five different trails of differing levels and difficulty. The trails are all well-maintained and sign-posted. So you just need to pick your favourite route. The Braille Trail and Boekenhout Trail are ideal forest walks for those pressed for time and the not so fit. The Stinkwood Trail is a relatively short exploration of the oldest part of the forest with some of the largest trees. The Yellowwood Trail and Silvertree Trail are long hikes that take you up to the waterfall and around the estate, through both forest and fynbos.
It is also possible to climb Table Mountain from Kirstenbosch, up Nursery Ravine or Skeleton Gorge.
Tree Canopy Walk
The Tree Canopy Walkway is inspired by a snake skeleton and winds its way through and above the trees of the Arboretum (the Arboretum is situated between the Protea Garden, Cycad Amphitheatre, the Dell, Mathews Rockery and the Concert Lawn). The steel and timber bridge is 130 meters long and raises visitors up to 12 meters high. So can enjoy spectacular views of the Garden, the Mountain and Cape Flats from above the ground. The Tree Walk is also known as the Boomslang (tree snake) as its gracefully winding through the trees and taking visitors from the forest floor to greater heights.
The Boomslang is also accessible for wheelchairs, but people in the wheelchair will need assistance to navigate the steep gradients to get to and from the walkway and the mulch paths in the Arboretum.
In case you’ll need some refreshments during your visit at the Garden, you’ll find a few amazing places to simply sit down, relax and enjoy a refreshment or meal. For us, the most family-friendly place in the Garden is Moyo Restaurant with a playground outside and wide, open lawns to play on.
They also house the Kirstenbosch Tea Room which serves breakfast, lunch, salads, sandwiches, soups, tea, cakes and desserts. It has a very relaxed atmosphere and is open everyday from 09:00 – 16:00.
At Vida e Caffè you’ll find the best espresso and high quality coffee, pastries, croissants, muffins, rolls, panini, wraps and treats. It is situated in the Visitors’ Centre (Gate 1) and can be visited without entering the Garden or paying the garden entry fee. It is open daily between 07:00 – 19:00.
To make sure that you are covering the most interesting parts for you and the family, you can download a couple of maps online before your visit. You can download directions, a map of the Garden, a wheelchair accessibility map as well as a map for dog owners. Dogs are only allowed in some areas of the Garden, so you can plan your visit beforehand.
You can download all the maps here: GARDEN MAPS
- Standard Adult: R210
- South African Residents & SADC Nationals 18 years and older (with ID): R90
- Students/learners of 18 years and older from a South African institute (with student card): R50
- All children from 6 to 17 years: R30
- All children under 6 years: Free
- All BotSoc members (with membership card): Free
- South African residents over the age of 60 (with ID): Free on Tuesdays except on public holidays
We and the kids love the Garden for so many reasons. During the flowering season, you see so many amazing plants and flowers that it’s absolutely breath-taking. Our kids run around, play frisbee on the lawn or go on the dinosaur hunt in the Garden. We’ve also done the Tree Walk a couple of times as it is amazing to stand above the trees and enjoy spectacular views.
Kirstenbosch is also host to fantastic events such as the Galileo Open Air Cinema or the Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts. There is always something fun to do and it never gets boring.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
- Opening Times: Sep – Mar 08:00 – 19:00, Apr – Aug 08:00 – 18:00
- Age Group: 0 – 99
- Rates Kirstenbosch Gardens: Adults = R210, Students = R50, Children (6-17y) = R30, Children under 6 = Free
- Baby Changing Facilities: No
- Fun Factor: 5/5
- Free WIFI: No
Ticket Office: +27 (0) 21 799 8782 / +27 (0) 21 799 8602