Explore the scenic Kirstenbosch Garden. As we head into summer – and the festive season – it’s the ideal time to get outdoors into our wild places and appreciate South Africa’s extraordinary natural world.

Out and about this summer

Hiking does all this – and much more. It’s great for your fitness, health and happiness, you can make new friends by joining a hiking group, and you can explore somewhere new, especially South Africa’s magnificent national botanical gardens around the country.

In particular, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden offers wonderful hiking opportunities. Members of the Botanical Society of South Africa enjoy free entry into these gardens. 

Hike at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Cape Town’s magnificent Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden sits at the foot of the iconic Table Mountain. Here you can take a gentle stroll around the garden or enjoy more energetic hikes in the afrotemperate forest above and upwards onto the higher-level mountain trails.

A favourite with hiking enthusiasts is the classic Skeleton Gorge hike, which will lead you up a series of steps, ladders, and a fun waterfall scramble through afrotemperate forest to the shores of the Hely-Hutchinson dam on the Table Mountain plateau.

Become a Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) member, and you can enjoy access to all the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) national botanical gardens – and their hiking trails – free of charge.

Just show your BotSoc card, or your membership barcode on your cell phone at the entrance gate at any of these gardens, and you’re in.

 Always bear these hiking safety tips in mind:

  1. Check the weather forecast: Plan your hike for a day when the weather forecast is good. Look for a day with good visibility and not too hot weather.
  2. Plan for all conditions: The weather may change while you are out and about. So pack warm clothing on a hot day and sunblock on a cool day, in case conditions change. Always pack a fully charged cell phone loaded with the emergency numbers.
  3. Wear the right footwear: The best footwear for hiking is closed shoes or boots with good grip that have been worn in before you start your hike. This will give your feet good support and keep you comfortable on your hiking journey.
  4. Bring enough water and food: Bring at least 2-3 litres of water per person on a hot day, depending on the length of your hike. And pack more snacks than you think you’ll need, like nuts and dried fruit.
  5. Never hike alone: Even if you are hiking a route you know, it’s best to hike with others who can seek help if needed.
  6. Know your route: Download the route to your phone to access it even if there is no cell phone signal. Or bring a paper map to guide you, in case your cell phone batteries run out.

To find out more, or become a BotSoc member for free garden access, visit: www.botanicalsociety.org.za

Kirstenbosch Garden is open every day from 08h00 to 19h00 during summer.

Remember to bring along your ID to qualify for local entry rates.

Buy Kirstenbosch Garden entry tickets online at Webtickets.

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There is no one way to explore all of the Cape Town Big 6, and much of what makes each of them so special is the variety of things to see and do at each. So if possible, take your time to explore each of the city’s most visited tourist attractions in as much depth as possible – as any local will tell you, you can spend a lifetime at each of the Big 6 and still not tire of them. Find the 3 and 4 day itineraries and tips here.

Book Kirstenbosch Tickets Online