Spring flowers Kirstenbosch South Africa

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, South Africa

Posted on Posted in Activities/Experiences, Cape Town, Photography, South Africa, Travel

I don’t have a green thumb, never had, never will, so I enjoy visiting gardens because they are pretty colorful, relaxing and give me so many photo opportunities.  The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden ,outside of Cape Town, was a stop on the day long private tour  (we spent the morning on the Cape Peninsula). Having visited many gardens around the world, I thought I had an idea of what to expect but I was so pleasantly surprised by the incredible beauty all around.  By arriving later in the day, after the bus tours had departed, the garden was deserted – we had the place to our little group of eight (or at least it felt that way).

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
A relaxing bench to enjoy the Kirstenbosch gardens

The Botanical Garden is at the bottom of Table Mountain on the eastern slope which makes it quite unique and also gives it a few steep climbs that will test you a bit.  According to the garden website, there are over 7,000 species in cultivation just to give you an idea of how vast the Flora Kingdom is in South Africa.

South African flower at Kirstenbosch
Gorgeous flowers like this abound in the botanic garden

Our guide showed us around the garden to see the unique trees, flowers and even an owl nesting.  So while I don’t know the names of the flowers, trees, etc. at the garden, I think you will agree, it is gorgeous (if you know any of the names of the flowers, please let me know as I haven’t a clue).


My camera and my brain were on overload trying to take it all in and capture it as well. I took hundreds of photos and am sad I can only share a few here.

Orange flowers at Kirstenbosch Gardens
Lovely orange flowers in the garden


Yellow cone flowers at Kirstenbosch Cape Town South Africa
Striking yellow cone flowers at Kirstenbosch

The gardens are close to Cape Town (about 13 km) and easy to reach by local bus, the Hop On/Hop Off bus as well as many day tours. With it’s relaxing atmosphere, you can easily find a spot on the grass to enjoy the music from the open stage during performances, enjoy the sun or just read a book. You are encouraged to picnic on the grounds and spend some time.

Trees at Kirstenbosch
Lots of different trees at Kirstenbosch


Red flower at Kirstenbosch Garden
Red flowers are great contrast against the greenery

I was on flower overload as the Flora Kingdom was stunning, everywhere I walked there was an amazing flower or tree that was more beautiful than the last one.  A highlight was the “Nelson Mandela flower” a yellow bird of paradise, it was gorgeous.  The Kirstenbosch spent nearly twenty years to create this yellow version of the bird of paradise to honor Mr. Mandela and I think you will agree, it was worth it.

Yellow bird of paradise
Honoring Mr. Mandela with the yellow bird of paradise
Yellow bird of paradise, Mandela's Gold
Yellow bird of paradise, often called “Mandela’s Gold”

The diversity of the wildlife at and around the gardens is staggering. According to the garden website, there are over 125 species of birds, various butterflies and insects as well as many animals that are active at dusk/night.  With more time to explore you can walk the many trails and spot some wildlife on your own.  I had only a small amount of time in the garden and easily found these local residents roaming freely on the grounds.


Nesting Owl at Kirstenbosch
Nesting Owl with a very protective partner nearby to keep us at bay
Blocking access to the water fountain
Blocking access to the water fountain


Resting wildlife in front of the lawn music venue
Resting wildlife in front of the lawn concert stage

A few more lovely flowers to get mesmorized by

You need a keen eye to find the flowers hiding
You need a keen eye to find the flowers hiding in the garden
A field of yellow flowers can only make your smile
A field of yellow flowers can only make your smile
Such a unique flower - example of the variety in the flora kingdom
Such a unique flower – example of the variety in the flora kingdom


Kirstenbosch has a large number of trees on the grounds of the garden.  There are so many that they are building a walkway above the trees scheduled to open in 2014.  It wasn’t built during my visit so we walked through the forests of trees and were told the story of the extinct in the wild Cycad tree, which is protected by law.

All about the Cycad tree, extinct in the wild and protection by law
All about the Cycad tree, extinct in the wild and protection by law


Cycad tree South Africa
The last of its kind – the protected Cycad tree

Having shot over a hundred photos in the short time at the Kirstenbosch Garden, I hope you enjoyed the few that I shared above and plan to visit the garden on your own during your visit. If you have a favorite garden to visit, please let me know so I can add it to my list.

4 thoughts on “Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, South Africa

  1. We are totally hopeless when it come to keeping plant life alive, but we have discovered botanical gardens and now visit them whenever we can — most recently in Singapore. I have a post about the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden outside Hilo on my blog. The photos practically took themselves!

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