The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of the... - Secret World

Rhodes Dr, Newlands, Cape Town, 7735, Sudafrica

by Teresa Lotti


The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of the most famous and frequented gardens in the world and ‘the most beautiful garden in Africa’. However, its history, intertwined as it is with the turmoil of South Africa’s colonial past, makes it a worthy contender for being regarded as ‘secret’. In 1660, Jan van Riebeeck ordered that a hedge of wild almonds and brambles be planted to separate the Dutch colony from the native peoples. The hedge was meant to prohibit them from entering the garden and benefiting from its vast riches. Little of the hedge remains today, but one of the sections that does is now a Provincial Heritage Site situated within the gardens. The sections were eventually bequeathed to the nation when the last jailer, the famous and controversial Cecil Rhodes, died in 1902. Finally, the ‘hidden’ garden was unveiled to the public.