Thursday, March 01, 2018

A day in Glorious Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

We had not been to this wonderful place for years, other than attending the occasional concert; we confess it. No excuses, just meant to and it didn't happen. But our overseas friends love it and suggested we go so, finally, we got there, being tourists in our own town again. And on a Tuesday, when local pensioners (us!) get in free. It is being affected by the drought but they are making survival plans and there is a lot of mass planting of succulents and other water wise plants. We finally got to walk on the Boomslang, the tree canopy walk, and had lunch in the old restaurant that holds many memories for Capetonians
At least we do know some of the tricks. We parked up at the top gate and traversed downhill, criss-crossing the gardens. First heading for the Protea garden. The Agapanthus are in major flower this month, so unusual; must be the drought. We expect to see them before Christmas
Tall tufts of papyrus, suffering a bit
The lawns and the mountain are like green velvet, but this area does get a lot of mist from the mountain and the temperature inversion clouds
We were so encouraged to see so many school classes getting botany lessons from Kirstenbosch staff. Way back, when Lynne was at school in Sea Point, we were brought here four times a year for similar lessons which engendered a lifelong love and appreciation of plants and nature
A noisy olive thrush feeding on berries. They sing so beautifully
In the wondrous prehistoric cycad forest they had picked this 'fruit' and the gardener told us that they will be able to make new plants from each segment
The dinosaur statues certainly add to the atmosphere and must delight children. We are amazed at how tall some of the cycads are
Then in the dell, one of our favourite places, damp and moist and lush and green with ferns and streptocarpus, the mountain steam and spring from Lady Anne Barnard's bath
Fern shadows on the stepping stones with the stream flowing below
Tree ferns and cool shade over the stream. We were quite sunburned on our walk
The cobbled walkway under the indigenous trees
Taking a nap in the shade?
The otter pool. We could not spot any fish, tadpoles or crabs so, perhaps, the otters are active
Ah, just what we needed, ice cold beers at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room restaurant. When we were children, our parents used to bring us here for the speciality - crayfish salad which was plentiful and cheap. No chance of that very scarce luxury being served any more. But you can still get scones, cream and jam
 The lads had the burgers with crisp fried onion rings, crisp chips (and we didn't have to ask for them) and good pickles. This dish came with a large mixed salad for them to share
Lynne had a toasted cheese sandwich and a salad and Yvonne had anchovy toast as she wasn't very hungry
The bill
Lovely on the terrace under the cool green umbrellas. Expect to queue, but it didn't take long
There was an exhibition of paintings by local artists, some very talented
And there are several sculptures in the gardens
We climbed back up the hill, very slowly
And up these stairs in the heat, not so great, but we were on a mission
It was HOT
The Tree Canopy Walk was our destination, now freely open to all
It is quite marvellous as it winds its way through the tree tops. We do hope they manage to raise funds to extend it some time in the future
It did not trigger Lynne's physical vertigo at all. It does vibrate but not much
The views are superb
Over to the back of Devils Peak and Table Mountain ...
... and then over the Cape Flats to the Stellenbosch mountains
It snakes along, hence the nickname borrowed from one of our indigenous snakes, the Boomslang (translation, tree snake)
Great for photographs
Green tunnels
A view of the concert stage. Regular summer concerts are held in Kirstenbosch. They are very popular; you must book
Hot and gasping for air, having finished the epic climb back up to the top gate, we certainly did our 3,000 steps that day. We have promised ourselves a return visit, soooon

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