South Africa is known for its wild beauty. It offers almost everything, from the famous fynbos of the Western Cape to the deserts of the Karoo, from the tropical flora found in KZN to the famous Jacaranda in Gauteng. With so much of its natural flora preserved, it was hard to choose just a few gardens so we decided to do it by province. Here is a list of gardens of the Western Cape that are definitely worth a visit:
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (Cape Town)
Found nestled along the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, this garden is over 100 years old. It boasts over 7000 species of endemic and indigenous flora across 528 hectares of land. The garden, which offers the beauty of the mountain as a backdrop, also boasts a view of the city stretching into the ocean. This view can be seen from the 130m treetop walkway, loving called “The Boomslang”.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with plenty of attractions. Visit the gardens and experience summer sunset concerts, the Galileo Open Air Cinema, restaurants, the cycad amphitheatre with life-size dinosaurs, and a sculpture garden with an ever-changing exhibition
The Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden (Worcester)
This is one of the only true succulent gardens in the world. It spans 154 hectares and contains hundreds of arid and semi-arid plants. Only 11 hectares are cultivated whilst the remaining 143 hectares are left in their natural state. The garden lies at the foot of the Hex River Mountain range which creates a spectacular backdrop for the rare and interesting plants found here.
From late July until late September, the garden becomes a colourful wonderland as the annuals and vygies (mesembs) flower. Other points of interest include the 70 different species of birds and many small mammals as well as three beautiful hiking trails.
The Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden (Stellenbosch)
This garden “borders the manicured suburbs of Stellenbosch and a rugged mountain wilderness where leopard still roam”. It started as a project in 2009 when Lewis decided to create a level play area for his children, behind their farmhouse. During the excavation period, Lewis discovered that the large earth-moving equipment could shape the land much like he would shape a sculpture. He began to work with the operator and turned an unused piece of farmland into his largest sculpture yet. He worked until he had a 7 hectares of beautiful garden.
It contains dynamic hills, valleys and water features. The garden also has more than 60 sculptures carefully placed along 4km of pathways. It is a place where Lewis explored the notion of “the wilderness within.” Whilst we could write an entire post on this garden, we urge you to go see its blend of art and nature for yourself.
These are our top three but by far not the only beautiful gardens of the Western Cape! For more inspiration you can also visit:
The Company’s Garden
Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens
Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden
Bishopsford Bonsai Garden
Durbanville Rose Garden
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