Cape Town is a must-see on any holiday in South Africa and two places that should not be missed while visiting the fairest Cape are the Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Constantia Wine Route. The Constantia Valley and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens lie only twenty minutes from the centre of the city and it just so happens that these two delightful gems lie side-by-side in the southern suburbs area of Cape Town.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens - breathtakingly beautiful
Kirstenbosch is world-renowned and for good reason - it is regarded as one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world! The largest botanical garden in South Africa, Kirstenbosch spreads out over 36 hectares of unique and indigenous flora interspersed with manicured lawns. This picturesque botanical garden, founded in 1913, features an impressive array of South African flora and is best known for its endemic fynbos species and proteas.
It's the ideal setting for a gentle stroll through the sculpture garden and beds of medicinal, fragrant and flowering plants. Kirstenbosch is also the perfect spot for a scenic picnic, tucked away in one of the hidden enclaves of the leafy gardens or beside a tranquil pond.
Kirstenbosch is also the starting point for several walking trails through the surrounding forests and up the world-famous Table Mountain, from the short and easy meander to the more challenging mountain climb.
During the summer months the gardens host sunset concerts on Sunday evenings, drawing renowned local and international musicians. The annual Carols by Candlelight and New Year's Eve concerts are also celebrated in the lovely gardens. There are three delightful eateries to choose from - a tea room, a cafe and a restaurant, which holds concerts during the winter months. Other attractions include the Botanical Society Conservatory that houses a succulent garden, a gift shop, a book shop and a nursery that sells a variety of plants.
The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is a World Heritage Site that can be explored on guided walking or golf cart tours, or on your own. Most of the plants along the paved pathways are well labelled, including a Braille section, so you can learn a lot about the vegetation of the Cape Floral Kingdom, just by walking around.
Constantia Wine Route - a heavenly vale
The Constantia Wine Route is the oldest wine producing region in South Africa, dating back to 1685. This heavenly valley is synonymous with the finest wines, gourmet cuisine and idyllic surroundings.
This verdant valley features Groot Constantia, considered the oldest wine-producing estate in the country. These are the closest vineyards to Cape Town, with the upmarket suburb and historic vineyards offering a rural retreat in the heart of the Cape Peninsula. The charming village of Constantia, its leafy lanes, stately homes and scattering of Old Baroque and classical Cape Dutch style homesteads all compliment each other to create a languid and refined atmosphere.
If the internationally acclaimed wines aren't enough to entice you, then there are also a number of award-winning restaurants located in the valley. The shopping is also worth mentioning, as Constantia features some fine boutiques, art galleries and antique stores.
In Constantia you can take guided wine tasting tours or pick your own selection of historic wine estates and highlights to visit. Blaauwklippen and Boschendal wine estates are among the oldest on the Constantia Wine Route, consisting of nine wine farms. Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Constantia Uitsig, Steenberg, Constantia Glen, Eagles' Nest, Beau Constantia and Silvermist are more of the famous names here.
A weekend getaway during the annual Constantia Food & Wine Festival is the perfect time to sample the finest wines and cuisine of the valley in a vibrant setting.
For those in search of more leisure activities Constantia holds the beautiful 18-hole championship golf course of Steenberg. Designed by the legendary Peter Matkovich, this renowned golf course boasts some of the best greens in Cape Town. The lush valley can also be explored by horse back and on hiking trails in the nearby Cecelia Forest. There is also an easy walking trail that winds from Constantia Nek down to Kirstenbosch Gardens, offering sweeping views of the botanical gardens, forested hills and suburbs beyond.
The Dreamy Duo - Tranquil Gardens & Vineyards
Kirstenbosch Gardens hugs the lower slopes of Table Mountain to the east, while Constantia Valley spreads out at the base of the Constantiaberg mountain. Leaving the city bowl of Cape Town its a quick drive from the urban hub into the natural magnificence of the rambling gardens of Kirstenbosch and the rolling vineyards of Constantia.
Luxury Accommodation in Constantia
Experience ultimate luxury at the The Last Word Constantia, set in immaculate gardens surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of Constantia Valley.
This boutique hotel offers tailor-made tours of the wine route and broader Cape Town area, as well as a chauffeur service to the finest restaurants of Constantia. Two of the spacious suites include their own plunge pools, in addition to the sunken pool at this elegant top-end hotel.
Indulge in spa treatments along with wine tastings, gourmet picnics, sightseeing and a visit to the Kirstenbosch Gardens.
Discover more about the Cape Winelands Region of South Africa.