Categories > Guides and Tips

A Visitor’s Guide of Kirstenbosch National Gardens

A Visitor’s Guide of Kirstenbosch National Gardens

Calling all nature lovers! We found the perfect place for you to visit in Cape Town (What do I need to know before going to Cape Town South Africa?): the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, or simply “the Garden.”

Located on the slopes of the iconic Table Mountain (What is south africas famous landmarks: Top # Most Famous Landmarks in South Africa) the Garden is famous for its large collection of flora. You’ll be in for a fun adventure as you traverse through different trails, mini gardens, shops and restaurants in this large site.

Here’s everything you need to know about this popular tourist attraction!

The Garden at-a-Glance: What You Need To Know

Hailed as one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world, Kirstenbosch is a 528-hectare UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 7,000 plant species. 

Its most popular one is the fynbos, a unique type of vegetation that only grows in this part of the continent.

Initially, this pot of land was owned by the former Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, Cecil John Rhodes. However, he bequeathed this to the government after his death.

Although the site was nothing but a desolate location overrun with pigs, it has now turned into one of the most breathtaking landmarks in Cape Town thanks to the hard work of botanist Harold Pearson.

The garden is now being managed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). In fact, it attracts over one million visitors every year with its diverse flora and stunning views.

Here’s all the pertinent information and details you need to save for your visit to Kristenbosch National Botanical Gardens!


Facebook: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Address: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town, SA

Contact details: +27 21-799-8783

Operating hours: 

  • Monday – 8 AM – 6 PM
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday – 8 AM – 7 PM
  • Wednesday – 8 AM – 5 PM
  • Saturday – 9 AM – 5 PM


  • Adult – R220
  • South African Residents & SADC Nationals (aged 18 and above) with ID presented – R100
  • African Residents outside SADC (aged 18 and above) with ID presented – R140
  • Students from a local institute with ID presented – R60
  • Children aged 6 to 17 – R40
  • Children under 6 – Free
  • BotSoc members with membership card presented – Free if membership was renewed by March 31, 2023, or less 10%
  • South African Residents over the age of 60 with ID presented- Free on Tuesdays except on public holidays

Top Things to Do in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

1. Join a free guided tour

Join a free guided tour
Image from

Operating hours: Monday to Friday – 10 AM, 11 AM and 2 PM

Taking around 90 minutes, volunteers in the Garden give free guided tours for all interested visitors. It’s a great way to learn more about the place with an expert by your side who’ll show you all the best highlights and history of the site.

Plus, they can assist you if you need any help going around.

Pro tip:
Since there are no guided tours on weekends and public holidays, you should visit the Garden during weekdays to experience it.

2. Explore the Botanical Society Conservatory

Explore the Botanical Society Conservatory
Screengrab from

Operating hours: 9 AM – 5 PM daily

The Botanical Society Conservatory is the home for both exotic and indigenous plants (What plants are only found in South Africa? # indigenous South African plants) that cannot be grown in the outside gardens. It has a main house and four corner houses with different plant species.

In the main house, you can expect to find different plant beds categorised based on their origin region. Some examples are Eastern Cape (What is Eastern Cape well known for?), Little Karoo and Gondwana Garden among others.

Meanwhile, the corner houses showcase different kinds of stone plants, bulbs and ferns.

Pro tip:
If you want to feel even closer to nature, join the Botanical Society (BotSoc) for amazing perks like getting to join community activities, receiving discounts at the organisation’s bookshop and volunteering opportunities at the botanical garden.

3. Walk along the Boomslang

Walk along the Boomslang
Screengrab from

The Boomslang, meaning “tree snake,” is a famous tree canopy walkway part of the Kirstenbosch National Gardens. It’s around 130 metres long with a narrow and slender path, looking like a snake’s skeleton – hence, its name.

Through this elevated pathway, around 12 metres above ground, you’ll be able to get a panoramic view of the nearby mountains, the Garden and Cape Flats. 

You can make stops along the way to bask in the beauty of your surroundings and of course, take photos to commemorate the moment.

Pro tip:
For visitors with special needs, contact the Kirstenbosch office ahead of them to ensure the availability of wheelchairs. They’ll meet you at Rycroft Gate/Gate 3 to assist you as you drop off your vehicle and get to the walkway.

4. Watch a music concert

Watch a music concert
Image from


Contact details: +27 21-799-8783/8620/8773

Operating hours: 4 PM – 7 PM


  • Adults – R260
  • Children aged 6 to 17 – R190
  • Children aged 5 and below – Free

Every summer, Kirstenbosch hosts a series of sunset concerts with various local and international performers like the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Elton John, Johnny Clegg and The Vamps.

The concert venue is an open space where you can bring your own blankets and picnic baskets while watching the performers on stage. By the way, concerts will continue regardless of the weather and no refunds are allowed.

Pro tips:
Check the events page on the SANBI website for the full information about the line-up along with their respective schedules and ticket prices.Make sure to only buy through Webtickets because that’s their official ticketing partner.

5. Stroll around Fynbos Walk

Stroll around Fynbos Walk
Screengrab from

Starting from the Viewing Deck at Gate 3, Fynbos Walk allows you to reach the different smaller gardens: Restio Garden, Protea Garden, Fynbos Garden, Buchu Garden and Erica Garden.

Each one features different kinds of plants that are only found in the Cape Floral Kingdom so don’t forget to take photos to remember the moment by. 

You’ll even get a good view of the eastern slopes of Table Mountain through this path so take your time and enjoy the scenery at your own pace.

You should also be on the lookout for different birds flying around the area. Four species of sunbirds are often spotted here namely the Orange-Breasted, the Malachite, the Great Double-Collared and the Lesser Double-Collared.

Pro tip:
Since you’ll be doing a lot of walking, wear your most comfortable pair of shoes to avoid having blisters later on.

6. Hike through Silvertree Trail

Hike through Silvertree Trail
Image from

For something challenging, try hiking through Silvertree Trail. Stretching more than seven kilometres, the path starts and ends at Rycroft Gate (Gate 3).

It’s one of the most difficult ones in the Garden, taking around 3 hours to complete. So, it’s perfect for physically fit individuals and adrenaline junkies. 

Through this experience, you’ll be able to see the shining silver trees that grow on the slopes behind and above the Garden. 

You’ll also get the chance to see the Garden’s irrigation dam through this hike, which was built in 1968. Be warned though, you are not allowed to go near it.

Pro tip:
Take a quick detour to go to Vaalkat Waterfall where red disa plants (disa uniflora) can be found. It’s an indigenous orchid species that’s only seen in the Western Cape.

7. Eat local food at Moyo

Eat local food at Moyo
Image from


Contact details: +27 21-762-9585

Operating hours:

  • Monday, Wednesday to Friday – 11 AM – 6 PM
  • Tuesday, Saturday to Sunday – 9 AM – 6 PM

Price: ranging from R180 – R460 per person

Located inside the Garden, Moyo is one of the best places for anyone who wants to take a break and eat good local food while you’re at it. You can dine at their large patio, which has a stunning view of the surrounding mountains.

Their best-sellers are their well-cooked spicy chicken, fresh pies and sweet brownies. You can also order a cup of coffee like a cappuccino or latte here while looking at your pretty surroundings – if that isn’t relaxing, we don’t know what else is.

Pro tip:
Reserve a table on their website ahead of time to ensure a slot because you wouldn’t want to wait long for an available spot while you’re hungry, especially during peak hours.

8. Have a picnic at the Main Lawn

Have a picnic at the Main Lawn
Screengrab from

Found at the heart of Kirstenbosch, the Main Lawn is a popular spot among picnickers because of its large green space, stunning reflecting pond and tranquil surroundings. 

It’s the ideal place to enjoy good food with your family, friends, or significant other or by yourself while you bask in the beauty of nature with the tall trees and lush bushes around the place. 

You can either bring a blanket so you’ll sit on the grass or sit by available benches if there are any.

Pro tip:
Be on the lookout for different bird species like Guinea Fowls, Egyptian Geese and Cape Francolin because they usually walk around the area. If you’re lucky, you might even see the Marsh Terrapin – an African helmeted turtle – near the pond.

9. Check out the Sculpture Garden

Check out the Sculpture Garden
Screengrab from

Mambo stone sculptures are the most popular creations in the Sculpture Garden. There’s only one design of each kind which depicts different themes – from traditional to contemporary – that are made by local artists.

You might even see a sculptor in action while you wander around the garden since they create their masterpieces in the place itself. These artists are allowed to pick their stones, from spring stones to opals, whichever they feel like working on.

Pro tip:
If you’re interested in buying any of the Mambo sculptures, you can purchase them through Mambo Exports, found in the Visitors’ Centre of the Garden (Gate 1).

10. Buy souvenirs from the shops

Buy souvenirs from the shops
Screengrab from

Contact details: +27 21-762-2510

Operating hours: 9 AM – 5 PM daily

Located at Gate 1, there are three different shops you can visit: the Kirstenbosch Gift Shop, the Botanical Society Bookshop and the African Stone Sculptures. 

The Gift Shop sells different products from homeware to pieces of clothing, perfect for souvenirs for your friends and family. Meanwhile, the Bookshop is for those who love references on gardening, flora, fauna and natural history.

Then African Stone Sculptures is where you’ll find different small to large masterpieces that are featured in the Sculpture Garden.

Pro tip:
If you only want to buy souvenirs or memorabilia, you can enter through Gate 1 without paying the garden entry fee but make sure to not wander anywhere else after your shopping spree to avoid getting charged.


Related topics