Located throughout Cape Town are breathtaking gardens that serve as perfect places to relax take in nature and explore Cape Town’s flower life. Most may know of the parks in and around Cape Town but don’t forget the stunning gardens enriched with history and beauty. These Beautiful Gardens offer visitors an escape into a world of captivating flora, ranging from indigenous species to plants from distant corners of the globe. Does it sound like your kind of thing? Here are our picks for the best gardens in Cape Town, each a botanical wonder and cares incredibly for the plant life in the cape.
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Arderne Gardens 🌲
Arderne Gardens, Located in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs, stands as a cherished arboretum, public park, and National Historical Monument. This revered site, spanning 5 hectares, holds cultural significance, celebrated for its history and collection of unique trees. This garden isn’t merely a beautiful setting, it’s a hub for activities, drawing Capetonians for family outings, serving as a backdrop for wedding photoshoots, and offering an escape from bustling city life. At its heart lies an extraordinary collection of trees, dedicated to the founders. Among these arboreal wonders stands the towering Moreton Bay Fig, fondly known as the Wedding Tree, and the potentially largest Aleppo Pine globally, both recognized as Champion Trees in 2008.
Arderne Gardens has a large cultural and historical background, acknowledged as a Provincial Heritage Site and designated as a National Monument. Managed by the City of Cape Town, the garden shelters over 400 trees, weaving together a narrative of time. Supporting the preservation efforts is the Friends of the Arderne Gardens (FOTAG), a public benefit organization committed to maintaining and enhancing this natural treasure. Donations, both at the garden’s entrance and online through GivenGain, contribute to sustaining the garden’s splendour beyond municipal provisions. Though details on specific contributions aren’t detailed, the generosity extended towards FOTAG activities remains pivotal, ensuring the ongoing conservation and enjoyment of Arderne Gardens for generations to come.
Arderne Gardens Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 8 am to 6 pm
Address: 222 Main Rd, Claremont, Cape Town, 7708
Contact Number: 021 444 1697
Upper Liesbeek River Garden 🌾
The Upper Liesbeek River Garden in Newlands, Cape Town, stands as an ecological sanctuary, rejuvenating the Liesbeek River’s natural beauty while providing a secure garden for residents and visitors. Positioned along the stretch of the Liesbeek River, this garden holds historical importance, named by Jan van Riebeeck after a Dutch river and traced a 9-kilometre route from Table Mountain to Table Bay. Once neglected and overrun by invasive species, it underwent a remarkable metamorphosis through a collaborative effort led by residents. Transformed from neglect to vibrancy, the site now features a landscape with a boardwalk, inviting benches, accessible picnic spots, and pathways catering to wheelchair users. Families revel in a haven where children gleefully encounter crabs, tadpoles, and indigenous fish using natural stepping stones across the river.
The garden’s restoration shows the community’s dedication, driven by residents from Bishopscourt Village and Fernwood, backed by support from the Nussbaum Foundation, corporate allies, and enthusiastic visitors. Their combined efforts not only revitalized the garden but also underscored the river’s role in urban life, offering a blueprint for safeguarding rivers, vleis, and wetlands within city landscapes. Accessible along the Liesbeek River Trail in Newlands, Cape Town, this garden welcomes visitors during daylight hours, ensuring a secure environment for children and leashed dogs. A testament to community resilience and environmental stewardship, the Upper Liesbeek River Garden thrives as a testament to the power of collective action in nurturing urban nature havens.
Upper Liesbeek River Garden Opening Hours: Always Open
Address: 1 Almond St, Newlands, Cape Town, 7700
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden 🌼
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, a jewel on Cape Town’s Table Mountain slopes, shows the true power of nature. Part of the esteemed South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Kirstenbosch goes beyond a mere garden, it’s a living canvas of breathtaking beauty and ecological significance. Draped against Table Mountain’s eastern slopes, Kirstenbosch captivates visitors with its sheer magnificence, boasting an unparalleled blend of indigenous flora, awesome views, and captivating art installations. More than a garden, it’s an educational hub, offering a wealth of visitor information from garden rules to comprehensive details on biodiversity, wildlife, and herbicide use.
Kirstenbosch serves as an exquisite venue for weddings, conferences, and diverse gatherings. Its tours, including virtual explorations and tree canopy walkways, redefine visitor experiences, unveiling the garden’s history and intricate botanical wonders through the decades. SANBI’s stewardship complements Kirstenbosch’s allure, contributing to South Africa’s sustainable development by conserving biodiversity and offering vital data, policy advice, and conservation efforts across national botanical and zoological gardens. This synergy between nature’s elegance and SANBI’s mission cements Kirstenbosch’s status as a global botanical treasure and an emblem of sustainable biodiversity management.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Opening Hours: Friday to Wednesday 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and Thursday 8 am to 5 pm
Address: Rhodes Dr, Newlands, Cape Town, 7735
Contact Number: 021 799 8783
Conservatory, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens 🪴
The Botanical Society Conservatory within Kirstenbosch managed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is a true gem within Kirstenbosch Gardens. This sanctuary, consisting of the main house and four corner houses, offers a journey into the region’s remarkable plant species and ecological marvels. The main house of the Conservatory is a living tableau, artfully designed to represent distinct ecological regions of southern Africa. Each bed within this house intricately replicates the rocks and soils specific to various regions, showcasing the unique flora from Namib, Nama Karoo, Bushveld, Baobab, and more. Visitors are transported on a botanical odyssey, traversing landscapes like the Eastern Cape, Little Karoo, Namaqua, Richtersveld, Knersvlakte, Coastal Fynbos, and the evocative Gondwana Garden.
The corner houses spotlight specific botanical wonders, from the Leslie Hill Stone Plant House adorned with stone plants to the Ian Reddihough Welwitschia House featuring the enigmatic welwitschias. The Kay Bergh Bulb House illuminates the diversity of bulbs, while the Mary Mullins Forest House serves as a haven for fern lovers, showcasing the verdant richness of this botanical family. This conservatory celebrates the richness of southern Africa’s flora and serves as a bastion for biodiversity conservation and education, offering visitors a captivating journey through the region’s botanical wonders.
Conservatory, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 8 am to 4 pm
Address: Rhodes Dr, Newlands, Cape Town, 7700
Contact Number: 021 797 5787
Kirstenbosch Garden of Extinction 🦕
The Garden of Extinction within Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens stands as another gem and has approximately 1500 endemic South African plant species. This poignant enclave serves as a stark reminder, raising a clarion call for urgent conservation action amid the extinction crisis gripping these plants. This garden functions as an educational beacon, shedding light on the precipitous decline of endangered South African flora. Through insightful storyboards, it delineates the causes contributing to their extinction while advocating for mitigation strategies. Each plant, adorned with its conservation status and looming threats, serves as a living testament to the critical need for preservation efforts.
The presence of red boards punctuating the garden serves as a reminder, urging visitors to contemplate the grim realities of extinction and rekindle their commitment to the environment. In a particularly sombre section, boards memorialize already-extinct species, underscoring the repercussions of human apathy toward nature. Even familiar species like the yellow wild iris face endangerment, thanks to many reasons such as coastal development. Visitors can engage with this harrowing reality at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, where the Garden of Extinction resides near Gate 2, offering an eye-opening narrative about the fragility of our natural heritage. Operating hours vary seasonally, inviting contemplation and action in the face of this critical conservation challenge.
Kirstenbosch Garden of Extinction Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 7 am to 6 pm and Saturday to Sunday 8 am to 6 pm
Address: Rhodes Ave, Newlands, Cape Town, 7700
Contact Number: 021 799 8783
Durbanville Rose Garden 🌹
Located in the heart of Durbanville, Cape Town, the Durbanville Rose Garden stands as an incredible spot, boasting an exquisite collection of 500 rose varietals adorning 4500 bushes sprawled across 3.5 hectares. Situated along Durban Road, invites visitors into a world captivated by roses. Established in 1979 through the dedication of the Western Cape Rose Society, this garden shows collective enthusiasm and passion for roses. Most of the garden’s roses were lovingly donated by fervent enthusiasts, and it occupies a part of the historic Old Eversdal Estate, incorporating the Schabort family burial grounds. With meticulously curated sections highlighting antique, miniature, hybrid teas, and floribundas, the garden offers a sensory delight, showcasing the beauty of roses thriving in the ideal environment of clay soil and an east-facing slope.
While public picking of roses isn’t permitted, visitors can walk around the garden, soaking in the relaxed vibes around the fountain and gazebo. Open daily from sunrise to sunset, the garden provides free secure parking, welcoming enthusiasts and admirers to the timeless allure of roses. Beyond its beauty, the Durbanville Rose Garden serves a significant role as one of three trial rose gardens in the Southern Hemisphere, functioning as a global rose nursery. Maintained by a dedicated team of four full-time gardeners, it also garners support from the Friends of the Rose Garden non-profit organization, welcoming volunteers to nurture this floral sanctuary.
Durbanville Rose Garden Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 8 am to 4 pm and Sunday 8 am to 3 pm
Address: 33 Drakenstein Rd, Durbanville Hills, Cape Town, 7550
Contact Number: 021 444 9587
Stellenberg Gardens 🌿
In an enchanting spot in Cape Town’s heritage, Stellenberg Gardens, cultivated by Sandy Ovenstone since the mid-1980s, embodies a fusion of history and contemporary allure. Comprising sixteen garden areas, this horticultural marvel emerges as an interconnected masterpiece, artfully designed to evoke diverse sentiments of peace and tranquillity for its visitors. Sandy Ovenstone’s visionary approach artfully weaves historical relics and landscape, resulting in distinct garden rooms connected by alleys, reminiscent of the estate’s interior. These designed spaces marry traditional elements with modern influences, embracing suggestions from adept gardeners while honouring Sandy’s distinct choices in plant selection and placement.
Each garden enclave within Stellenberg Gardens beckons visitors on a sensory journey, from the graceful White Garden and Parterre Garden to the lush Vegetable Garden and serene Garden of Reflection. Integrating ancient garden statues and contemporary sculptures discreetly punctuates pathways, enriching the visitor experience. Notable contributions from esteemed designers such as David Hicks and Francesca Watson lend unique imprints to specific areas, weaving their design prowess into the fabric of the Walled Garden, Vine Walk, Stream Garden, and more. Ultimately, Stellenberg Gardens showcases the sentiment echoed by Arne Maynard, embracing a “sense of place as the soul of the garden.”
Stellenberg Gardens Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Address: 32 Oak Ave, Kenilworth, Cape Town, 7708
Contact Number: 021 761 2948
The Company’s Garden – Rose Garden ♟️
The Company Gardens invites visitors into a historical haven teeming with cultural landmarks and diverse natural gardens. Situated behind the People’s Cathedral, this garden boasts an origin dating back to the 1650s when the East India Company cultivated produce for ships. Enshrined within this verdant sanctuary lies relics of the past, including the oldest cultivated pear tree in South Africa, a poignant vestige from 1652, alongside historical statues and the poignant Dellville Wood Memorial Garden honouring First World War soldiers. Surrounded by a tapestry of attractions, the Company Gardens serve as a gateway to exploration, housing cultural treasures like the Iziko South African Museum, Iziko National Gallery, and the National Library, juxtaposed with governmental landmarks like Parliament and Tuynhuys.
The garden’s attraction extends beyond its historical resonance, embracing a mosaic of flora and fauna, a bamboo plantation, the remarkable Gingko Tree, playful squirrels, and avian beauties. Within this garden, visitors can unwind at the Company Garden Restaurant, walk through the Rose Garden, and admire the Avarian. Offering free entry through multiple access points, the gardens welcome visitors from sunrise to sunset, catering to seasonal times with summer hours from 07h30 to 20h30 and winter timings from 07h00 to 19h00. This botanical paradise completely shows Cape Town’s rich history and natural beauty fused together.
Address: Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8001
Boschenheuvel Arboretum 🦋
Situated between Newlands and Bishopscourt, the Boschenheuvel Arboretum in Cape Town is a must-visit garden along the Liesbeek River, shrouded in an uncertain future due to historical land issues yet retaining its allure for various recreational pursuits, drawing both locals and visitors seeking solace from urban life. The arboretum, cherished by dog walkers, photographers, and nature lovers, holds a charm despite the impending closure overshadowing its existence. Unfortunately, the lack of detailed online information belies the imminent fate awaiting this beautiful sanctuary.
Amongst this uncertainty, the arboretum’s enchantment prevails, inviting visitors into its embrace adorned by majestic trees, vibrant wildflowers, and a peaceful atmosphere. Clear waterways meander through, accompanied by playful dog encounters, evoking a cherished sense of connection with nature within this beloved natural space. As the Boschenheuvel Arboretum grapples with an ambiguous future, its enduring charm continues to beckon, serving as bittersweet to both the resilience of natural beauty and the complexities of historical legacies in Cape Town.
Address: Corner of and, Kirstenbosch Dr & Winchester Ave, Bishopscourt, Cape Town, 7708
Garden Lounge at The Vineyard Hotel 🍇
Located within The Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town, the Garden Lounge welcomes visitors with great food and stunning views of gardens and Table Mountain. This retreat offers the perfect vibe, complete with a garden patio perfect for breakfast, lunch, or sundowners in the garden. The Garden Lounge caters to many tastes and schedules, presenting a thoughtfully curated menu that evolves throughout the day.
Complementing the delices food is an eclectic beverage menu featuring an array of cocktails, wines, and hot or cold beverages. The Garden Lounge caters to young palates with mini meals, ensuring children savour the experience with salads, sandwiches, and burgers available throughout the day. Whether indoors or on the patio, The Garden Lounge at The Vineyard Hotel invites guests into an experience where delectable cuisine merges with breathtaking surroundings, promising an unforgettable dining experience.
Garden Lounge at The Vineyard Hotel Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 7 am to 10 pm
Address: 60 Colinton Rd, Newlands, Cape Town, 7700
Contact Number: 021 657 4500
The stunning gardens of Cape Town offer botanical wonders, inviting visitors to enjoy the plant collections in Arderne Gardens the conservation focus of Kirstenbosch and the beauty of the Durbanville Rose Garden, each garden or park is a unique experience, celebrating nature’s splendour in its unique way. These plant sanctuaries serve as reminders of the significance of conservation, enriching visitors’ lives and contributing to preserving our natural heritage in Cape Town.
Don’t forget to let us know what your favourite garden in Cape Town is and why it stands out to you in the comments below! 🌻