Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Stunning Scenery: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens Cape Town
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Table Mountain National Park South Africa
- Flowers Everywhere
- Hiking Trails
- Table Mountain Cable Car
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
- Boulders Beach Penguin Colony
- Other Activities
- Animals in the Table Mountain National Park
- Map & Location
- Contact Details
Located in the Cape on the south-western tip of Africa, the Table Mountain National Park includes the incredibly scenic Table Mountain Chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south and the seas and coastline of the peninsula and within it's boundries lie two world famous landmarks, the majestic Table Mountain and the legendary Cape of Good Hope and all the time being within easy reach of the city of Cape Town.
Whilst Table Mountain National park might not have Africa's Big 5 and thus probably wouldn't be considered as the ultimate safari destination in South Africa, it does have plenty to offer for both the wildlife and outdoors lover as well as those looking for adventure or unbeatable scenery. If you are visiting Cape Town, Table Mountain National Park is well worth visiting, even if for just a day.
A New National Park
The Table Mountain National Park was only declared a national park in 1998. It covers an area of 25000ha (245 square km) and over 40km (25miles) of some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. The jewel in the crown of the Table Mountain National Park has to be the unmistakable icon of the Table Mountain itself and has been named a UNESCO Natural world heritage site. The whole protected area includes the Table Mountain National Park as well as the Cape of Good Hope Nature reserve in the south, Silvermine Nature reserve near Muzenberg and the Karbonkelberg Sanctuary Zone as well as extending 10km (6 miles) out into sea.
The Cape Floral Kingdom, one of only six floral kingdoms in the world is an added bonus to this wonderful area, which is made up of mostly fynbos (fine bush in Dutch) mostly a hardy shrub like vegetation, but within this you will find a huge array of flowers including proteas, daisies and geraniums. In fact there are 8200 plant species that have been identified in this whole Cape Floristic region, and to put this into perspective, the whole of the British Isles which is three and a half times the size of this region has less than 1500 identified plant species! To see all these flowers in bloom is incredible and the best time for this is Spring, fro August onwards although it can still be chilly and there is often light snow on the mountain right up until October.
Other than the flowers, there are a huge range of butterflies, birds and animals to be seen in the Table Mountain National Park. You wont be finding the Big 5 on safari here, but this has it's advantages in that it is a great area for walking without the need of a trained safari guide (field guide)
As mentioned before, because there are none of the 'big and nasties' you can go on unguided walks within the Table Mountain National Park. Most people aim to climb Table Mountain itself and there are over 350 routes to the summit, ranging from easy to very difficult. Whichever route you deide on, it is important to plan it and let people know where you are going, the weather on the mountain can change in an instant and it can get dangerous.
Guided Hiking Trails
As well as self guided walks, there are some excellent two, three and six day guided hiking trails that you can go on. An interesting tour / hike is a three day Table Mountain trail with your Xhosa guide that is about 25 kilometers long (16 miles) that actually begins with a boat trip to give you an impression of what the area and Table Mountain looks like form the sea. Next you go on a historic tour of Cape Town, ending the day at the foot of table Mountain in Deer Park, where you will sleep in restored washhouses that date back to 1888 where slave women once washed their Dutch masters' clothing. The next day you trail up Table Mountain by cable car and explore the length of the mountain top, it's dams, flowers and animals. This night you will sleep in the restored Overseer's cottage from which you will see the twinkling lights of Cape Town far below. The tail ends the next day with a tour of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.
For more information on hiking trails in the Table Mountain National Park: Hoerikwggo Hiking Trails Tel: +27(0)21-4658515 firstname.lastname@example.org www.hoerikwaggotrails.co.za
If hiking to the top of table mountain sounds a little tough, or if you want to get a unique perspective of the mountain and it's stunning views, a trip on Cape Town's Table Mountain cable car is a must. In less than 10 minutes, you will be over 1000m (3281ft) up in the air. he cable car itself is a state-of-the-art Swiss designed cable car that rotates 360 degrees on it's ascent (and descent) to the top of Table Mountain giving you unparalleled views of this stunning coastline, Cape Town and Table Mountain itself.
The Table Mountain Aerial Cable-way is open from 8:30 am to 7-10pm depending on the season
The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens at the foot of Table Mountain in Cape Town is the first botanical garden in the world to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful area of land was given to the public in 1902 by Cecil John Rhodes and now helps to preserve and propagate rare indigenous plants. Much of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is a pristine nature area and is ideal for lovers of the outdoors including hikers, walkers, photographers and botanists. There is also a glass conservatory which contains a baobab tree as it's focus, around which all of South Africa's floral regions have been re-created.
Boulders Beach on the South Eastern coastline of the Cape Peninsula is that place to go to view up close and personal the cute African (Jackass) penguins that have made this pretty beach their home. With the Swartkop Mountains in the background, this protected colony has become a popular tourist attraction in Cape Town. There is an extensive elevated walkway that allows you to get up close and personal to the penguins. The best time to view the penguin chicks is between March and September.
Other than hiking there are many activities that can be undertaken in and around the Table Mountain National Park, these include:
You can go rock climbing in a few areas around Cape Town, therese include Table Mountain itself, Twelve Apostles, Lion's Head, Silvermine and Muizenberg Crags. For more information contact:
Mountain Club of South Africa
email@example.com Tel: +27(0)21-4653412
Cape Town School of Mountaineering
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +27(0)21-5314290
This can be organised from Table Mountain
Paragliding & Hang-gliding
There are designated Paragliding and Hang-gliding sites at: Silvermine and Lion's Head. There are also many other sites around the Table Mountain National Park that are suitable for both Paragliding & Hang-gliding. For more information on paragliding or hangliding in Cape Town, including obtaining a permit or a company that will teach you how to fly contact Cape Town Tourism (see contact details at the bottom of the page)
Surfing in Cape Town and the Table Mountain National Park
Within the Table Mountain National Park, the best places to go surfing or learn to surf include: Green Point-Glen Beach, Camps Bay, Kommetjie, Noordhoek Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg.
Scuba Diving in Cape Town
Scuba diving around the Cape Peninsula is popular and there are many PADI qualified diving centers and Schools. It is important to consider that the water on the western Atlantic coast will be colder (11-15 degrees Celsius) than that warmer eastern Indian Ocean coastline.
Shark Cage-Diving in Cape Town
Probably one of the best chances you well ever get to come this close to a great white shark and live to tell the tale is to go diving in a cage off the Cape Peninsula! This form of Shark Diving has become popular in Cape Town and even though I often go scuba diving, I have not done this yet as my feelings on it are mixed. Viewing these incredible animals in their natural environment is awe inspiring, but sometimes the ethics of “baiting” them to attract them to an area so we humans can see them, to me is wrong as it encourages them into an unnatural behavior.
Dolphin and Whale Viewing in Cape Town
There are plenty of tours off the Cape Peninsula that will take you out to view the common Bottlenose and Dusky Dolphins as well as the Humpback and Southern Right Whales.
There is more...
Other popular activities that are available in and around the Table Mountain National Park include:
Cape Town Tourism Details
For more information on any of these adventure activities, it is best to contact Cape Town Tourism:
Because of the massive variety in habitats, there is a huge diversity of wildlife in the Table Mounain National Park.
Buck species that have adapted to fynbos are generally small and pretty difficult to spot, but it is well worth the patience. Look out for Klipspringer, Grysbok, Common Duiker, Grey Rhebok and Steenbok. Larger Antelope species such as Eland, Red Hartebeest, Bontebok and Cape Mountain Zebra can be found in the Cape of Good Hope section of the Table Mountain National park.
Animals on Table Mountain
- Grey Rhebok
- Common Duiker
Animals found at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
- Cape Mountain Zebra
- Red Hartebeest
Animals found in the Cape Peninsula
- Chacma Baboon
- Rock hyrax (Dassie)
- Cape Fur Seal
- Boomslang (snake)
- Puff Adder (snake)
- Southern Rock Agama
- Black Girdled Lizard
- Cape Skink
There is a huge variety of birdlife in this region of the Table Mountain National Park , ranging from Penguins to the protected African Black Oystercatcher. Species of birds to look out for include:
- African (Jackass) Penguin
- Cape Sugarbirds
- Orange-breasted Sunbirds
- Malachite Sunbirds
These pretty three bedroom Cape style cottages are located right on the edge of the sea located at the southern end of the Cape of Good Hope Reserve come with fully equipped kitchen are a beautiful place to stay.
Eland and Duiker Cottages
Three bedroom wood cottages are located within the Cape of Good Hope reserve and come fully equiped.
To stay at either the Eland & Duiker Cottages, or the Olifantsbos Cottags, you can contact them via the Buffelsfontein visitors center. Tel: +27(0)21-7809204
Below is a map showing the location of the Table Mountain National Park and other points of interest in the area of Cape Town.
For more about visiting the Table Mountain National Park, contact:
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