Kirstenbosch is a popular attraction in Cape Town, which most visitors to the city, including Tunde Folawiyo, have probably heard of. Located at the base of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is a botanical garden, in which you can find five of the country’s six biomes. Along with its neighbouring mountain, this garden was named as a UNESCO World Heritage site ten years ago.
Its creation is attributed to Henry Harold Person. Person was a British botanist, who worked in Cambridge University for several years, before finally deciding to move to Cape Town in 1903, when he was offered a position at the South African College. Eight years later, he visited the Kirstenbosch area, and realised that it was a perfect spot on which to build a botanical garden.
As a history enthusiast, Tunde Folawiyo might know that in 1913, Kirstenbosch was opened to the public; whilst it was certainly not the first garden of this kind, it was unusual, in that its founder’s mission was to preserve South Africa’s indigenous flora. To this day, only native plants are grown here. The entire garden spans 828 hectares, and approximately 60 hectares of this land are used for cultivation purposes, with the rest being used as a natural floral reserve. In total, there are about 20,000 indigenous species here, all of which are grouped according to their relation to one another.
The garden is home not only to flora, but also to an abundance of fauna. Birds are particularly prevalent here; the staff have recorded over 125 species in total. Some of the most beautiful include the African Dusky Flycatcher, the Sunbird and the Sugarbird.
There are paved trails across the entire garden, including routes which are suitable for those with prams or wheelchairs. Named the Silver Tree Stoll and the Weaverbird Walk, these pathways allow people to explore the area and enjoy the scenery without over-exerting themselves.
For those who wish to go on a more vigorous walk, Stinkwood and Yellowwood are both popular choices; these span about 6 kilometres, and take roughly three hours to complete. The garden is at its busiest during the spring and summer months, when some of the most colourful flowers, such as the Namaqualand daisies, are in bloom. However, the winter months also bring with them a bright display, which includes plants like ericas and proteas.