Best Gardens and Parks in Cape Town
We’ve put together a list of some of the best gardens and parks in Cape Town, each of which will be thoroughly enjoyed by both the young and young at heart.
- Location: 222 Main Road, Claremont, Cape Town
- Entrance fee: Free | There is however a donation box for Friends of the Arderne Gardens who maintain it.
- Operating hours: Open daily from 8am – 6pm
The beautiful Arderne Gardens is the perfect picturesque garden escape from the hustle and bustle of the inner-city. Situated in the heart of Cape Town’s southern suburbs, the Arderne Gardens is renowned for its exotic trees and Japanese-style ponds.
Besides being one of the best gardens in Cape Town to visit, this natural gem has become a popular location for fun family outings, picnics in the park and any-time-of-the-day strolls. Its resident ducks, guinea fowl and fish, has made it a real fan-favorite for the kiddies, as well as the adults of course!
There are tons of beautiful walkways that meander through the garden inviting you to sit back and relax and enjoy the blissful solitude. However, if you’re an adventurer and nature lover at heart, the walkways are perfect for exploring all the fauna and flora the Arderne Gardens has to offer.
**Fun fact: The Arderne Gardens is home to the one of the largest trees in Africa known locally as the Wedding Tree.
#GREEN POINT URBAN PARK
- Location: 1 Fritz Sonnenberg Rd, Green Point, Cape Town
- Cost: Free
If you’re looking for the perfect inner-city nature lover’s escape to enjoy a fun day out with friends and family, the Green Point Urban Park is a great choice. Located next to the Cape Town stadium, the Green Point Urban Park boasts an exciting variety of activities for all ages. From an outdoor gym, fun play parks, and lushes lawns for the kids to run around on, to scenic walking trails and cycling paths, there is something for absolutely everyone to enjoy.
The Green Point Urban Park is also a great place to escape for a while, relax and unwind, breathe in some fresh air, and enjoy a scenic and tranquil stroll through the garden while admiring the vast array of stunning indigenous flora scattered around the picturesque lakes. Not to mention it’s a great picnic spot, boasting beautiful views of Lion’s Head and Signal Hill.
#KIRSTENBOSCH NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS
If you’re a head-over-heels nature lover, a visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens should definitely be right at the top of your Cape Town bucket-list. The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens in the world. It has also won the highly esteemed ‘International Garden of the Year’ award, and to be honest, very few gardens can compare to the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch. This not only makes Kirstenbosch gardens one of the best gardens to visit in Cape Town, but one of its most magnificent natural gems too!
Located right at the base of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is one of the most incredible displays of indigenous natural beauty you’ll find anywhere in the city. It forms part of the Cape Floristic Region, also known as the Cape Floral Kingdom, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Cape Floristic Region is the world’s smallest, yet most diverse, floral kingdom. It is one of only six floral kingdoms in the world and is the only one that occurs entirely in one country. Here you’ll find a glorious diversity of fauna and flora entirely indigenous to Cape Town. Kirstenbosch covers an area of 528 hectares filled with more than 7,000 plant species, 2,500 of these from the Cape Peninsula.
Besides its vast natural beauty and top Cape Town garden status, Kirstenbosch offers visitors an endless variety of things to do and see. Not to mention some exciting adventure experiences!
Here is a sneak-peak of what you can expect on your visit to Kirstenbosch:
- Calling all wildlife and bird lovers! Kirstenbosch is home to over 125 bird species, making it any bird enthusiast’s dream come true. You will also encounter several reptiles, frogs, and invertebrates as well as amphibians such as the Chirping Frog, the Cape River Frog, and the critically endangered Table Mountain Ghost Frog.
- Avid hikers can enjoy a variety of hiking trails and walking routes. The Kirstenbosch estate can be explored via five trails of differing levels of difficulty. All are well-maintained, logged footpaths or gravel roads and are sign-posted. The Braille Trailand Boekenhout Trail are ideal forest walks for those pressed for time and the not so fit. The Stinkwood Trail is a relatively short exploration of the oldest part of the forest with some of the largest trees. The Yellowwood Trail and Silvertree Trail are long hikes that take you up to the waterfall and around the estate, through both forest and fynbos. It is also possible to climb Table Mountain from Kirstenbosch, up Nursery Ravine or Skeleton Gorge.
- Kirstenbosch boasts a variety of beautiful garden areas, including the Botanical Society Conservatory, art at the Sculpture Garden, and the Protea Garden, to mention just a few.
- For avid adventurers and thrill seekers, there are tons of hidden gems, secret spots, caves, waterfalls and so much more to be discovered and explored – so get ready for an adventure!
- Beautiful, lush lawns and large shaded trees perfect for picnics and kiddies ruuning around.
- The famous Centenary Treetop Canopy Walk, also known as the ‘Boomslang’, has fast become a fan-favourite Kirstenbosch attraction for both the young and young at heart. The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway is a curved steel and timber bridge that winds and dips its way through and over the trees of the Arboretum. The Walkway takes visitors from the forest floor into and through the trees and bursts out above the canopy, boasting spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and Garden.
- The cyad amphitheatre which features life-size models of dinosaurs – this is a real winner with the kids!
- Kirstenbosch also has a variety of restaurants to and curio shops.
- Location: Babylonstoren, Klapmuts Simondium Road, Simondium, Franschhoek
- Cost: Entrance fees are payable at the ticket office | R20 per adult | R10 per child under 12 | Free entry for RHS members
- Operating times: Garden is open daily from 9am – 5pm | Last entry: 4pm
- Contact details: 021 863 3852 | [email protected]
Situated in the Drakenstein Valley in the heart of the Cape Winelands, almost halfway between Franschhoek and Paarl, Babylonstoren is as beautiful as they come. Besides being one of the most sought-after wine estates in the Western Cape, Babylonstoren is home to one of the most magnificent gardens in Cape Town.
The Babylonstoren garden is laid out over 3,5 hectares (eight acres), and is divided into 15 sections that comprises of more than 300 varieties of fruit, vegetables, and herbs as well as bees for pollinating, an abundance of indigenous plants, fragrant lawns, a prickly pear maze, a glorious Green House, towering rose vines, a Succulent House, and so much more.
It also boasts a uniquely beautiful cactus patch. In fact, the famous Babylonstoren cactus patch has fast become one of the most highly anticipated and sought-after sites and ‘Instagrammable’ spots in both Cape Town and South Africa.
The Babylonstoren garden beauty doesn’t end there – while meandering through the garden you will find a stunning secluded path that runs along the stream where thousands of clivias flower during Cape Town’s spring season. This magical garden also boasts a plethora of trees of great historical and botanical significance.
Babylonstoren’s incredible botanical diversity and unapologetic natural beauty not only makes it one of the best gardens in Cape Town, but one of its most beautiful natural gems too.
**Fun fact: Babylonstoren is a historic Cape Dutch farm that boasts one of the best-preserved farmyards in the Cape, dating back to 1692.
- Location: 32 Oak Avenue, Kenilworth, Cape Town
- Cost: R50, adults | Free, children under 12 | R30, Garden tea | Please note: Payment is by cash or Zapper only
- Operating times: 1 September – 31 March | By appointment only, 9.30am – 5.30pm
- Contact details: 021 761 2948 | [email protected]
- Important note: Please note The garden is only open for organized tours and visits by appointment from 1 September – 31 March
The Stellenberg Gardens is another one of the best gardens in Cape Town to visit. Located in Kenilworth, this beautiful private garden combines vintage and contemporary designs and plantings over 12 sections.
At the Stellenberg Gardens you will find unique and equally amazing gardens such as the Walled Garden, Pool Garden, White Garden, and Stream Garden. Every one of these gardens are as beautiful as the next, each with its own distinct characteristics, flora, and natural gems to explore. This is one magnificent garden that is definitely worth a visit.
#UPPER LIESBEEK RIVER GARDEN
- Location: Upper Liesbeek River Garden, On the Liesbeek River Trail, Newlands, Southern Suburbs, Cape Town
- Cost: Free
- Important note: The Upper Liesbeek River Garden is a strict no-litter area – visitors are requested to take their litter home with them. While the garden is dog-friendly, they must be kept on leads and owners are required to pick up their dog’s mess.
The Upper Liesbeek River Garden is somewhat of secret spot and natural gem all wrapped up into one. This piece of nature’s paradise is situated in the heart of (sub)urban Cape Town, upstream of the Paradise Road intersection on the M3. The Protea and window streams meet to form a single peaceful river that runs through Newlands, Rondebosch, Rosebank, and Observatory before joining the Black River and emptying out into Table Bay.
Besides a beautiful river and the peaceful serenity and tranquillity that comes along with it, the Upper Liesbeek River Garden boasts plenty of scenic paths, a stunning diversity of flora, lovely picnic areas and an array of benches where you can sit back, relax and soak it all in. The park is also wheelchair friendly, with access via a wooden ramp, however there are no paved pathways.
**Fun fact: The area is maintained and rehabilitated with donations from the residents of Bishopscourt Village and Fernwood.
#THE COMPANY’S GARDENS
- Location: Company’s Garden, 19 Queen Victoria Street, Central, City Bowl, Cape Town, Western Cape
- Cost: Free
- Contact details: 021 423 2919 | 021 444 1901 | [email protected]
- Operating hours: Open daily from 7am – 7pm in Winter | 07:30am – 8:30 in Summer
Established in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), the historical Company’s Garden forms a unique oasis in the heart of Cape Town’s inner-city. The Company’s Garden is not only one of the top and most beautiful gardens in Cape Town, it is also home to some of South Africa’s most important landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium, St George’s Cathedral, and the National Library of South Africa, to name a few.
Besides its historical significance, the Company’s Garden has established itself as the ideal escape from the hype and hustle of the inner-city. Boasting a vast array of trees and a diversity of fabulous flora scattered about, the garden offers visitors several shady spots and benches on which to sit back, unwind, and enjoy the peaceful and stunning surroundings.
While wandering the many scenic pathways of the Company’s Garden, you’ll come across several historical features such as historic statues, a Japanese theme garden, a well that dates back to 1842, and a vegetable garden that recreates elements of the original VOC garden. The Garden also boasts a rose garden, a bird aviary, water features, a restaurant, plenty of squirrels running about, and lovely lush lawns perfect for picnicking under the glorious Cape Town sun.