Cape Town: National Park

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Cape Town, South Africa

Rhodes Drive, Newlands
Private Bag X7, Claremont
Tel: +27 21 799 8899
Fax: +27 21 797 6570

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Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is world-renowned for the beauty and diversity of the Cape flora it displays and for the magnificence of its setting against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.

Kirstenbosch grows only indigenous South African plants. The estate covers 528 hectares and supports a diverse fynbos flora and natural forest. The cultivated garden (36 hectares) displays collections of South African plants, particularly those from the winter rainfall region of the country. It was founded in 1913

People used Kirstenbosch long before the arrival of the European settlers in the 17th Century. Traces of large pear-shaped stone implements and round perforated stones which were used to weight pointed digging sticks are all the record that exists.

In 1660 a hedge of wild almond (Brabejum stellatifolium) and brambles was planted to form the boundary of the colony. Sections of this hedge, known as van Riebeeck's hedge, still exist in Kirstenbosch. The forests were harvested for timber during the early years of the colony. Little is known about this early woodcutting period but overgrown tracks where the timber was hauled out of the forest and small ruins can still be found.

The origin of the name Kirstenbosch is uncertain, a number of families with the name Kirsten lived in the vicinity and some how the area became known as Kirstenbosch (Kirsten's Forest).

old tea houseThe English Occupation in 1811 brought about a change. Two large grants of land were made. Colonel Bird built a house at the foot of Window Gorge, planted chestnuts and probably built the bath in the Dell. Henry Alexander built a house on the site of the old tea house.

The picture on the right is of the old tea house at a later date. This structure no longer exists.

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Western Cape Tourism

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