From July 1 to 18, 2021, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is hosting its annual Winter Wonders Special. Youth 17 years and younger get free entry to Kirstenbosch and the chance to enjoy the beauty of the landscape. Start your adventure from the Kirstenbosch Bookshop.
When arriving at Kirstenbosch, head on over to the Visitor Centre (Gate 1). The Kirstenbosch Gift Shop and Bookshop has a special treat for families – ask the shop assistants for a Kirstenbosch Adventure Map. The free adventure map contains 50 illustrated features of Kirstenbosch which families can use to chart their adventure in Kirstenbosch. If a family ticks off 10 things on the adventure map, they can claim a R50 gift voucher from the Kirstenbosch Gift Shop which remains valid until the end of July 2021.
Fresh air makes for healthy appetites
Those who enjoy carefully curated, quality meals should definitely order from The Kirstenbosch Tea Room. Moyo is offering their hearty meals and gourmet milkshakes as takeaways to satisfy the needs of hungry visitors. Vida e Caffè is the perfect spot to pick up a smoothie, coffee or toastie. In accordance with adjusted level 4 restrictions – restaurants are only open for sale for off-site consumption of food as takeaways.
Shopping at Kirstenbosch
The Kirstenbosch Gift Shop is a celebration of all things botanical and showcases the unique work of a myriad of talented local South African makers. Bath and body products, homeware, children’s gifts, clothing and accessories are all included in the range.
In addition to the gift shop, Kirstenbosch Bookshop is South Africa’s leading stockist of botanical, natural history, guides, maps and South African cooking books. There is a children’s book section including puzzles and colouring books.
Take home the wonder of Mother Nature
Want to start your own garden? Head on over to Kirstenbosch Garden Centre (Gate 2). They are specialists in indigenous gardening and their experienced staff are on hand to offer advice. They have a wide variety of rare and unusual succulents, as well as the easy-to-grow local species. Bring the kids and let them choose a succulent – they are easy to maintain and it could be the ideal lockdown project to keep them entertained.
The Wonders of Winter in Kirstenbosch
Winter is expected to be cold and drab, but this is not the case at Kirstenbosch as it is full of colour and life and comes alive with bursts of colour while the birds sing. Even though it may be cold and wet, we also get many gloriously clear, sunny days at this time of year, and if you look, you will find an astonishing number of plants in bloom.
Fynbos is at its best during winter as the winter rains make the foliage lush green while proteas are in full bloom. The Fynbos Walk boasts many proteas or sugarbushes (Protea species), pincushions (Leucospermum species) and conebushes (Leucadendron species) in bloom.
Aloes flourish all winter as the Krantz Aloe (Aloe Arborescens) bursts with vibrant orange and yellow, and can be seen in the Mathews Rockery, as well as in the Conservatory, the Vygie Rockery the Garden of Extinction. An added bonus with aloes is that they attract jewel-bright Sunbirds, as well as many other birds including White-eyes, Redwing Starlings and Cape Canaries. Bees also make their appearance.
You can’t miss the Strelitzias, also known as the crane flower or bird of paradise, (Strelitzia reginae) which blooms throughout the winter starting in May and ending around October. You will also have a chance to see Kirstenbosch’s special golden-yellow cultivar which is known as ‘Mandela’s Gold’, and named after former president Nelson Mandela.
Get active and follow the Kirstenbosch 15 min Forest Trail
For those looking for something different, try one of the breathtaking forest trails. The Forest Braille Trail is the easiest, and suitable even for small children. It consists of a short 15-minute circular walk through the forest with benches and points of interest. This magnificent walk starts and ends at the Fragrance Garden.
Be sure to grab a Garden Guide map at the Ticket Office to accompany your wanderings. For the more intrepid who would like to tackle one of the trails through the Kirstenbosch Estate, there are five to choose from and details can be found on the Walks and Trails Map available at the Ticket Office. Please take care when on the mountain and pay attention to the weather. Remember that after the rain, the mountain streams and waterfalls will be running strongly and the paths will be wet.
Safety remains a priority
Families visiting Kirstenbosch during adjusted level 4 must please be aware that due to the restrictions, picnics and gathering in social groups are not allowed. The wearing of masks in public is mandatory in order to keep visitors and staff safe, Kirstenbosch reminds everyone to please wear their masks correctly at all times.
Kirstenbosch is open every day, including public holidays, from 08h00-18h00 in winter. The entrance fee for South African residents of 18 years and older is R80 (South Africans remember your ID, Driver licence or proof of residency); RSA Senior Citizens (with ID) are free on Tuesdays except on public holidays; RSA Students (with student card) pay R45; All youth aged 17 years and younger get free entry during the Winter Wonders special. To reduce contact, book and pay tickets online by visiting Webtickets. Alternatively please pay via card at the ticket office. For more information contact Kirstenbosch on 021 799 8783.