Hands up if you even knew there was a gorgeous and serene Stellenbosch Botanical Garden to visit? Things to do in Stellenbosch often revolve around frequenting the many wine estates for a lot of us.
Additionally, when it comes to visiting gardens, we tend to think of our usual suspects such as Kirstenbosch and Babylonstoren. With this in mind, we were delighted to find a new and somewhat different garden to explore as a family. It feels a little like a hidden gem.
About Stellenbosch Botanical Garden
These green lungs are located in the historical heart of the dorp and belong to Stellenbosch University. The Stellenbosch Botanical Gardens are home to an incredibly diverse and fascinating array of both indigenous and exotic plants. Their existence in this location dates back to 1921.
What to expect
Expect to find a garden that despite being quite compact, feels fairly spread out due to the interesting layout and many different areas waiting to be discovered. Including a coffee stop in the garden, we spent about 2 leisurely hours trailing the little paths with stops to enjoy the variety, the secluded nooks and the benches where you can relax and soak in the scenery.
The Different Areas
There are roughly 7 main areas. The area I loved the most was the super picturesque aquatic plant section with the magnificent lotus flowers and waterlilies. It reminded me of the Pamplemousse Gardens in Mauritius. If your excited kids don’t make too much noise, there’s certainly an atmosphere of blissful zen!
The bonsai collection at The Stellenbosch Botanical Garden is the most extensive I have ever seen and the kids found these mini trees absolutely fascinating. They are incredible works of love, labour and art.
Our other highlight was the Fern House which feels like a bit of a jungle with towering lush green plants and a narrow winding walkway that leads you through the display. We found a few different frogs hanging out all over the garden but it was here that our keen eyes spotted quite a few well disguised froggies chilling out under little rocks and hopping in and out the water. You’ll need to look carefully though!
Other areas include the rockery with succulents, a section with carnivorous plants, a herb and veggie garden and the glasshouses with plants from both the tropics and arid regions.
The Stellenbosch Botanical Garden is open 0800 to 1700, Monday through Sunday but may be closed on certain public holidays.
The entry feel is currently a nominal R15 per person for adults or kids. Discounted annual entry cards are available. You can grab an information leaflet with a map at the ticket office on entry.
There is no designated parking for the garden so you will need to find street parking which we found quite easily and it was free which is always a bonus, right?
The Stellenbosch Botanical Garden also has a lovely gift shop to peruse. It offers a range of interesting goodies to purchase.
The Katjiepiering Restaurant is located near the entrance to the gardens and we were most amused to learn about its name. The name translates literally from Afrikaans to English as kitten saucer but it’s actually also the Afrikaans name for Gardenia. Gardenias are part of the coffee family and have those gloriously fragrant white flowers.
Enjoy brekkie, snacks and light meals here. There’s a kiddie menu too.
For more information
For any additional information visit their website.
If you love gardens and haven’t been Babylonstoren then have a peek here.
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