Kirstenbosch lies 13 km from Cape Town’s city centre on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and covers an area of 528 hectares with 36 hectares of cultivated garden. The Kirstenbosch Gardens are one if eight National Botanical Gardens in South Africa and are home to five of South Africa’s six biomes. When Kirstenbosch, the most famous of the gardens, was founded in 1913 to preserve the country's unique flora, it was the first botanical garden in the world with this ethos.
The gardens are a celebration of South African flora, showcasing only indigenous South African plants, and are admired and appreciated by locals and visitors the world over. Fynbos, proteas, cycads and rolling lawns intermingle with streams, ponds and shady groves, with each season bringing new colours and highlights. Well-laid out pathways traverse the gardens making for easy strolling or a more strenuous walk and the sweeping views from the upper slopes are spectacular and well worth the effort. The land for the Gardens was given to the Nation by Cecil John Rhodes. The Kirsten part of the name is believed to be the surname of the manager of the land, J.F. Kirsten, in the 1700s. ‘Bosch’ is a Dutch word for 'forest' or 'bush'.