A trail with a difference

15/3/2014

Kirstenbosch has so many trails going off in all directions one can certainly get lost. So the other day I was trying really hard to research information for this when I came across something interesting, a Heritage Trail. This trail seemed to give people a piece of history from the beginning until now, 1700s – 2014. This garden has historical value and an interesting past.

It was reopened on Heritage Day in 2013 and this trail seems to only go along the old section of the garden. It gives one a self guided tour and explains the history of the gardens and shows old photographs. I find this way a much more fun way to learn about something. It also shows one how the landscapes have changed back when the garden was first created and what it is today.

For me I haven’t been on this new and exciting trail yet so I decided to find out where this trail begins and it seems one can start at any point where there is a sign called Heritage Trail and it is a circle route for only 2 km long.

I find that it would be an excellent why to expand ones knowledge of the area and learn about the history.

So this morning Kieron and I decided to go to Kirstenbosch and actually walk the Heritage Trail and see what it in tales.

There are many entrances to the trail itself, but its best to start from the beginning. The start is from opposite the Magic Tree (or what the Magic Tree was) and next to the Useful Plants Garden.

This walk is actually very easy and it’s just the usually steepness up to the next path or lawn.

The trail leads itself to Pelargonium Koppie and from there is amazing view of the garden and the structure of the Treetop Canopy Tour. So at each stop there is a sign the history of the section written on it. Then it’s along to the Colonel Christopher Bird’s bath and the history behind the bath itself.

How Bird bought the southern part of Kirstenbosch and built the bath as a form of a water source to the house in 1811. The bath was built in a “Bird” shape.

The next spot was the Cycad Amphitheatre, where some of the oldest Cycad’s are planted. Some have been around for centuries and some are quite rare.

Pearson’s Grave is another stop. Pearson was a Professor at UCT as well as a caretaker who decided a need for Botany at UCT and Cape Town and also

Kirstenbosch Heritage Trail

Kirstenbosch Heritage Trail

Treetop Tour

Treetop Tour

A Heritage path

A Heritage path

Table Mountain

Table Mountain

DSCN2035

Walking the Heritage Trail

Walking the Heritage Trail

Water bubbling

Water bubbling

DSCN2049 DSCN2051

Bird's Bath

Bird’s Bath

Treetop Tour

Treetop Tour

Pearson's Grave

Pearson’s Grave

Cycad Amphitheatre

Cycad Amphitheatre

Mountain

Mountain

Mountain

Mountain

Amphitheatre

Amphitheatre

Beginning of Treetop Tours

Beginning of Treetop Tours

DSCN2063 DSCN2066a needed link to the university.

The next stop was Matthew’s Rockery who was another caretaker from 1913 – 1936. His rockery was built in 1920’s of local sandstone.

He was also the first horticulturists to encourage use of indigenous plants.

The last bits of the trail goes past the only remaining section of Van Riebeeck’s Hedge, which was planted in 1660.

Down another path through the Concert Area, pass through the main restaurant, up through the Peninsula Gardens. Then last but not least through the Marquee Lawn (where the old tea room used to be). Then back to where we began.

The Heritage Trail is an amazing, interesting, beautiful walk. It’s like going back through the past and also through nature, which also helped reconstruct the gardens we know today.

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