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Its easy to take some things for granted. Then we are reminded how special they are, and that we are actually quite fortunate to have them. Usually it is summer that calls and reminds us about Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, but in this case it was National Geographic Magazine. Placing Kirstenbosch among its seven best picnic spots around the entire world in a recent article, National Geographic ranks the garden next to the likes of locations in Machu Picchu, Hawaii, Paris and Rome. And, Capetonians can visit it anytime they want, whereas others will have to fly thousands of kilometres to have the same privilege.

Although we may not always rush to appreciate it, we never stay away from the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden for long. Lying on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is the first botanical garden in the world situated within a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is truly unique and thousands appreciate this fact each week as they wander amongst the 7 000 species or as they throw down their blanket, dip into some wine and savour their view over the Cape Floral Kingdom. As summer sways its way over South Africa, Kirstenbosch Gardens becomes the traditional closing ceremony for the weekend as people migrate there to watch the Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts as the sun sets on Sundays.

The Garden attracts 750 000 visitors a year. But, with the Garden covering 36 hectares in a 526 hectare estate, it is still easy to lose yourself in the phenomenal variety of flora, a wall of colour and fragrance between you and the city. Hiking paths wander through the Garden but can also be followed all the way up to the top of Table Mountain via trails like Skeleton Gorge or Nursery Ravine. Once your day is at an end, take  a break at the Tea Room before heading home.

Information on Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Address: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town
Tel: 021-799-8783
Entrance: R40 for adults, R25 for SA students (with a card), R10 for children (6 – 17 years), children under six years go free

Photos by Derekkeats, Warrenski on Flickr

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