Kirstenbosch is located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and is now included within the boundaries of Table Mountain National Park, but is jointly administered with the SAN Biodiversity Institute. It does not, however, participate in the Wild Card scheme, as I discovered one afternoon when I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd just pop in for an hour or two. Instead, I returned fairly early on Monday, 10 April, with plans to spend the day.
In addition to its wealth of glorious flora, Kirstenbosch is a great place to observe and photograph birds, as the variety of trees, shrubs and flowers, as well as the dramatic mountain background, make for excellent settings! The higher parts of the garden offer broad views over Constantia and False Bay, and I was amazed to discover that I could see all the way to Cape Hangklip!
My two favourite parts of Kirstenbosch are the Protea Gardens and The Dell, with its natural spring and mysterious giant ferns. The Protea Gardens are farthest away from the park entrance, a good climb up the slopes of the gardens, so I headed there first and later worked my way back down via The Dell.
There are many other interesting areas of the gardens — far more than can be seen in a single day — so I recommend selecting a few areas of interest and concentrating on them. I also recommend bringing a book along and taking the time to relax on one of the many benches and savour the ambience of different areas of the gardens.